Wild Song by Janis Mackay


Wild Song by Janis Mackay

A boy overcomes his fear of water and connects with nature in this powerful novel of transformation Thirteen-year-old Niilo's unruly behaviour means his loving parents sent him to Wild School, a young offender's unit on an island in the Finnish archipelago. Angry at first, eventually he comes to enjoy being there and builds a close relationship with his mentor, Hannu, who helps him face his demons and overcome his lifelong fear of water. But when Niilo hears Hannu is leaving, he is so upset he decides to run away. Escaping is one thing, but living alone in the wild is completely different and it tests Niilo to the utmost, especially as his fear of water still haunts him. With the help of a seal, Hannu eventually finds Niilo, but on the way back to Wild School Niilo is thrown into the water and experiences a revelation that will change his life for the better.

About the Author

Janis Mackay

Janis Mackay was born and grew up in Edinburgh, but moved to London to study journalism. She has an MA in Creative Writing and has held writer-in-residence posts in both Caithness and Sutherland. She currently lives in Edinburgh, where she teaches creative writing and works as a writer and storyteller. She is the author of the Magnus Fin series.

A Q&A with the author about the writing of The Accidental Time Traveller....

Q. did you always want to be an author?


Q. How long did this book take to write?

A. Probably a year in all. I finished it while spending a month on an island in Finland in the spring of 2012.

Q. When did you first get the idea to write about time travel?

A. In 2011 I went to a theatre show about Marjory Fleming. She lived in Edinburgh 200 years before. At the age of 8 she kept a diary and wrote poems and observations of life, and of herself. She was a wonderful writer. She died before her ninth birthday, but the diary was kept and later published. This gave me a Scottish child’s insight into life 200 years ago. It was Marjory that inspired the theme.

Q. This book is very different to Magnus Fin. What is your favourite thing about this new book?

A. I love Agatha Black’s way of speaking, and her innocence and response in meeting the modern world.

Q. Do you have a favourite character in this book?

A. They are all very real to me. Agatha and Saul of course are favourites, and Agnes, and the pet monkey – and poor old Albert Black!

Q. If you met someone who had time travelled from the past what would you ask them?

A. How they did it!

Q. What do you like best about being an author?

A. All the money you make! Ha ha – joking! I like teetering on the edge in front of possibilities then jumping in and making someone that didn’t exist before.

Q. What was the hardest thing about writing a story involving time travel?

A. to make it seem like this could really happen. I like to write fantasy, but to write in such a way that this could be true.

Q. In the book Agatha has a performing pet monkey. Have you ever had unusual pets?

A. I had a tortoise that never woke up from its shoebox under my bed. Then, when I lived in France we had a yellow talking parrot called Jaco who was extremely annoying. Now I have a collie dog called Flora.

Q. If you lived in 1812 what job would you want to do?

A. Well, to be honest, I think I would like to be a man and be a travelling player.

Q. If you could travel to any point in history where would you go?

A. Way back, to Pictish times to see the land and the wild animals and to sit around a crackling log fire and see what people looked like 1000 years ago, and how they spoke.

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Book Info


224 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Janis Mackay
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Author's Website



Publication date

7th May 2015



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