Explaining the title: why ‘A Map of the Sky’?

It’s been one of the questions I’ve been asked in the months leading up to publication: why is your book called ‘A Map of the Sky‘?

It’s not a novel about astronomy or celestial charts.

There is, however, a map in the story. It’s a hand-painted work in progress. It doesn’t show road names, but it does tell you where to collect fossils on the beach. There are no gridlines or coordinates, but you can see the sea in all its different moods throughout the seasons. The map’s creator, Beth, has set out to depict all her memories of childhood adventures, along with everything she loves about her coastal home.

AMOTS Quote 2 Twitter

The title’s about a bit more than that map though. In particular it’s about contrasts. A map usually has fixed markings and clear labels. And for that reason the sky is near impossible to map out. How would you show your bearings, when clouds move and weather changes, and there are no landmarks this side of the Earth’s atmosphere?

This is a picture of the main character, Kit, and his view of the world. Kit is eleven and sees life as an adventure story full of heroes and villains. People are good or bad, problems can always be overcome, and everyone should live happily ever after. But all around him, the adults in the story are dealing with far more complex nuanced issues. How can Kit’s black and white view of life hold up against chronic illness, family secrets or professional failure?

A Map of the Sky is told through Kit’s eyes, but as a reader, you’ll often find yourself seeing more in a situation than the protagonist does, and you might well figure out the novel’s mysteries before Kit can.

You can preorder A Map of the Sky and it’ll be sent to you as soon as it’s published on 20th September or you can read the first chapter for free right now! If you enjoy it, I’d love it if you could vote for it in the People’s Book Prize.

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