Three years into the civil war that has turned his country upside down, Sami’s home village in Syria is hit by a deadly bomb attack and he is forced to leave behind everything he knows and loves.
Eventually, Sami and his family are given refuge in Coventry, England, but city life is hard to adjust to. It’s grey and cold and there are no fields to play in or animals to tend. Worse still, Sami worries about the fate of his uncle and cousins back in Syria and struggles to make new friends.
In a bid to take his mind off his homesickness, Sami is introduced to Harry Adams, one of the elderly residents at the care home where his mum works. Although wary of one another at first, the pair gradually form a bond, as Harry tells Sami the story of the unusually named Splen and his dog Bobby, who lived through the Second World War and the infamous Coventry Blitz. As Sami discovers more about Splen and his dramatic escape from the horrors of conflict, the two unlikely friends make peace with their troubled pasts and forge a new sense of hope for the future.
MY INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR!!
- When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
From the moment I could read a book and I started making up stories in my head. As a teenager I wrote doom-laden poems, and throughout my life I scribbled away. Occasionally I come across an old note book with the beginning pages of the great novel that never got written! This sounds a bit silly but I had no idea how to write a novel – all those words …. How do you do that? When I retired 3 years ago I went on a creative writing course and got a distinction, so now no excuse, and after a few failed attempts I finally did it.
- What inspired you to write this book?
The story started from a mad conversation with my then 11-year-old grandson Alfie. We were chatting about names and he came out with “what did Splen do?” to which I replied “Well something splendid I guess!” the name stayed in my head. He also told me that books about wizards and talking trees, and strange creatures bored him and he wanted to read about real people that were, sort of, like him. So I had to listen to my audience, stop writing the story with the magician and get real. So Splen was born. Sometimes a character will worm their way so deeply into your psyche you have to accept the inevitable and write them.
- If you could sell this book in one sentence what would it be?
Running from the Sky is a story about war past and present, of courage, friendship, love and a bright future.
- What are you up to next?
Out of the blue a character- Eliza Jane – has popped into my head. She’s on a wagon train crossing America on the Oregon Trail- I’m now thinking in an American accent! I have started some reading up and there’s one hell of a story she’s going to tell me. Can’t wait!
- Who is your biggest inspiration?
My inspiration comes from so many places and people. I am constantly inspired to keep going when I am confronted by ordinary people doing the most extraordinary things. We are all born ordinary it’s what we do that makes the difference.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Malben trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama but has dedicated herself to teaching. She taught adults with learning difficulties at Northampton College, specialising in drama, and English as a foreign language to adults. A fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, she co-founded a project with Northampton University to help improve the language skills of immigrant children and their parents. Now retired, she lives in the Northamptonshire countryside close to the Warwickshire border and enjoys writing and walking her dog.