Friday 5 June 2015

Blog tour: the Lullaby Girl by Aly Sidgwick

Today I am delighted to host Aly Sidgwick on my blog, author of Lullaby Girl;

Who is the lullaby girl? Battered, bruised and washed up on the banks of a remote loch, the Lullaby Girl doesn't know who or where she is. She doesn't speak. She only sings a haunting Danish lullaby over and over again. 

When her shocking story hits the headlines, the Lullaby Girl is hot news. Everyone wants to know who she is. Strangers donate money for her care, the media are breaking down the door to get to her and the care home she's in is struggling to cope. 

Then, as chilling memories slowly start to resurface, the Lullaby Girl begins to realise that her story isn't over and she is in mortal danger, with a past that is quickly catching up. But she needs to remember why before it's too late.

 Solen er så rød.

Several people have asked me about the lullaby in my novel.  Well, I suppose it all starts with moving house. One of the first things my boyfriend said after I moved in with him in 2009 was ’We have to watch Riget!’ Riget is an early-90s Danish TV show set in a Copenhagen hospital, directed by Lars Von Trier, and I quickly understood that it held a cult staus amongst my Swedish friends. They loved it in the same way people love Twin Peaks. It was just as quotable, with iconic characters such as the eerie dishwashing duo, ’Lillebror’ (shudder), spiritalist Mrs Drusse, and the hilariously rage-filled, inept neurosurgeon, Stig Helmer. 

One of the central storylines involves a deformed demon-baby called Lillebror (’Little Brother’) who spends many episodes of the show strapped to a huge metal frame on the wall. He asks his mother to cut him free so that he can die, and during the scene where she does this, she sings him the traditional Danish lullaby ’Solen er så rød, mor.’ That’s the first place I ever heard it. Now, I should say at this point that the show is a comedy. A very, very dark one, but comedy nonetheless. The struggle between light and dark is a central theme, and the creepier scenes are often infused with humour. The lullaby scene was different, in that it was genuinely heartwrenching. A chill went through me the first time I saw Judith let her child go. 

The lyrics of the lullaby are actually quite dark, and can be taken in two ways. Basically, it’s a conversation between a mother and child about nightfall. Excerpts include ’The sun is dead, mummy,’ ’The (birds) have nowhere to live’, and a part about foxes lurking in a dark forest. It’s about refuge and protection, but also about death. Like the original Moomins (don’t get me started on that!) and early Grimm fairytales, there’s a harsh strand running through the seemingly innocent text. A moral to stay indoors at night, where it was safe. Maybe that was necessary in the old days, in a land of ice-covered lakes, harsh elements and beasties...

Whilst writing LG, it struck me how perfect the lullaby was for Katherine. The themes of abandonment, protection, and decline into darkness were central themes to her story. She’d been cast adrift in an unfamiliar world, and all she really wanted was refuge. The lullaby was something she could cling to, as well as a link to her past.

There are many souped-up versions of the song on the internet, but here is a nice simple one. It’s pretty close to how it would sound sung by Katherine. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour!

Lullaby Girl is available to buy now from Black & White publishing.
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Thank you to Black & White publishing (& Aly) for inviting me to part of this exciting blog tour.

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