Fox Julie Hunt


Shine Mountain
Song for a Scarlet Runner
The Coat
The Little Else series
Precious Little

Forthcoming books:

Early books:
Away! Away!
The Answerman
The Woman who Knitted
the World


thowing gloves

KidGlovz – behind the story

The gloves in KidGlovz came out of the pocket of my picture book The Coat although I didn’t realise it until I was some way into the story. I started off with the name of the main character. I thought a boy with a name like that would wear a pair of magical gloves. He would be a pianist or a thief or perhaps a conjurer. In my mind I saw a pair of gloves flying over snow-covered mountains at night. They were joined at the wrist and they looked like a white bird. They had a life of their own. I remembered a house I used to pass as a child – the Disappearing House near Conara in Tasmania. I always believed there was a piano in that house that played itself at night. I imagined the gloves were heading for that piano, although the mountains I saw weren’t in Tasmania.

I decided the boy would be a musical prodigy and I did some reading about brilliant children. I learned that they were often exploited – their managers or parents would keep them small so they looked younger than they were – and I invented Dr Spin who was so mean he hardly fed KidGlovz because he didn’t want the boy to grow. KidGlovz’ life was a misery. His wonderful musical talent was a curse as well as a gift and this curse/gift idea put me in the realm of folk stories.

Around this time I was reading a book set in Romania and I thought I might find the KidGlovz story there, so I went on a walking trip near the Carparthian Mountains. Up there I found graphic novels, whole comic strips painted on buildings! Here's a picture one of the painted monasteries of Bucovina.


I found other things I needed for the story – ice caves, mountains, forests and the main characters who I met at a railway station on the way. They were two young musicians who were standing in a queue waiting to change money; one was a Japanese pianist with long pale fingers and a beautiful innocent face and his mate was an Italian opera singer – a more worldly character, a bit of a conman and a true performer. Meeting them was a happy accident. I made the singer into Shoestring and his story, Shoestring – the Boy who Walks on Air, will be the sequel to KidGlovz. It will be a hybrid novel, part prose and part graphic novel.