skandar et le vol de la licorne autrice

“Harry Potter and Skandar could have been friends”

The children’s bestseller Skandar and the Flight of the Unicorn is already a worldwide success. Meeting with its author, who could well establish herself as the heiress of JK Rowling.

After generation Harry Potter of JK Rowling, AF Steadman has just launched the generation Skandar ? Unknown to the general public a few weeks ago, the young British author has just published her first novel, and already marks the beginning of a fantastic literary saga of very high flight. Best-selling since its worldwide release, Skandar and the Flight of the Unicorn is already offering itself ambitions to match its success: in just a few weeks, volume 1 of the saga planned in five volumes has already offered itself a simultaneous launch in 31 countries, 38 languages, and a first print run of 60,000 copies. Publishers are not the only ones wanting to bet on Skandar Smith, since Sony Pictures is already preparing the film adaptation of the saga. We caught up with AF Steadman a few days after the launch of his book in France. Interview.

Discover Skandar and the Flight of the Unicorn

JDG: Your first novel is already a best-seller, how do you live with it?

AF Steadman: I think it’s still a little unreal. It’s also a relief, because there was so much excitement before its release… I always wanted to be an author, I love reading so much that it made sense for me to want to write a book one day. But it’s complicated as you grow up to imagine yourself becoming a writer.

JDG: We often compare Skandar and the flight of the unicorn to the saga Harry Potter. Did JK Rowling’s saga inspire you in your writing?

AF Steadman: I am part of the generation Harry Potter. I read the books when I was about ten years old, and like many I grew up with them. JK Rowling’s saga is definitely one of the reasons why I love reading so much, and probably why I wanted to write. But it’s not my only reference, I also loved Eragon, Narnia, and globally all stories with magic. I think it’s all these stories that have influenced the generation of readers of which I am a part.

I understand that many people see some similarities with Skandar, especially because of the elements the characters are tied to during their training. But there are also a lot of differences, like the fact that students don’t stick to each other based on their element, like those at Hogwarts would based on their house. I really wanted to use each faction’s strengths and weaknesses to build team cohesion and strength in my story.

JDG: How do you feel about this comparison?

AF Steadman: Honestly, it’s very flattering. There are so many children who have read Harry Potter, who learned to read with this saga. On the other hand, it’s also very oppressive, because JK Rowling’s franchise has been around for so long… It’s so popular that comparison seems impossible. Personally, I’m just happy for people to read my book. And then a lot of articles talk about Skandar and the Flight of the Unicorn like “the book to read if you liked Harry Potter”, which is very good for my business! Of course, I hope Skandar will also inspire a whole generation, but I don’t know, I’m already so happy when a parent tells me that this is the first fantasy book that their child reads in full. If I can help the youngest to read again and again, it’s already incredible.

JDG: If they were in the same school, do you think Skandar Smith and Harry Potter could be friends?

AF Steadman: That’s a very good question, and I think so! Skandar is a bit shy, so I think he could use a little help, but I really think they could be friends. After all, they have a lot in common.

JDG: In your book, the unicorns are not the adorable fairy-tale creatures that we know, but rather bloodthirsty and bloodthirsty monsters. Why did you take this opposite view?

AF Steadman: When I started imagining my story, unicorns were everywhere in stores. Everywhere I looked I saw someone with a unicorn backpack, and as far back as I can remember I never liked them. Everyone imagines them fluffy, cute, with glitter and rainbows, but on closer inspection, they look more like a cross between a dragon and a rhino. They have a huge horn on their head, no one would think of staying next to them! I researched how I could change them to look more like dangerous and not exactly friendly creatures.

JDG: Skandar’s friends play an important role in your story. Who is your favorite character ?

AF Steadman: I think I would say Flo. She hates conflict, she’s an introvert, but also the most pragmatic of the bunch. I actually look a lot like her! Conversely, I loved writing the character of Bobby, because she is my complete opposite.

JDG: The film rights to the saga have already been purchased by Sony Pictures, can you tell us a bit more about it?

AF Steadman: It’s pretty crazy to me, because the rights were bought out at the same time as the book. I had never imagined this possibility, and I am the first surprise. The very idea of ​​knowing that my book is going to be adapted for the big screen is enormous. It’s also very exciting, because when I write, I visualize everything. I’ve already read a first version of the script, and it’s really promising.

JDG: What role will you play in this project?

AF Steadman: I am involved in the film as an executive producer. I’m kept informed of the directions it’s taking, and if I don’t like it, I think Sony will be willing to make some tweaks. But they are not legally bound to listen to me! The film should stay very faithful to the book, so I’m very happy at the moment.

JDG: Which actor do you imagine to play Skandar Smith on screen?

AF Steadman: To be honest, I don’t know. It’s a really weird feeling. I have such a specific image in my head that I can’t imagine any real person playing this role. I know perfectly well what it should look like, and I’m necessarily afraid of being a little disappointed.

JDG: Your literary saga is planned in five volumes, how is the writing progressing?

AF Steadman: I have just finished writing the second, I will start the third this summer. I already know how the saga will unfold in its main lines, how it will end and how the characters will evolve. For the rest, there are still some areas of uncertainty.

JDG: In Skandar’s place, what would have been your element?

AF Steadman: I would say that I am in between: I really like the Earth element, like Flo I think it could match me. But I also lean towards Fire, it’s more spontaneous, more creative and it’s an element that I really like. If I was a rider, I would like to have the same unicorn as Skandar, all black, but without a list on the forehead, because I wouldn’t be a Spirit wielder.

JDG: In the story, you often insist on Skandar’s passion for mayonnaise. Is this an autobiographical detail?

AF Steadman: Indeed, I really like mayonnaise! During reviews of the book, my UK editor advised me to put more emphasis on this detail. I realized then that it’s because he loved it too. More seriously, mayonnaise is something very comforting, but also very cheap. Skandar’s family didn’t have a lot of money, and I liked the idea that the mayonnaise was a sort of “cuddly toy” that reminded him of his home and made him feel at home.

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