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Hot Author

 Ondine Sherman

ONDINE SHERMAN is a lifelong animal advocate, and is passionate about promoting respect and compassion for all creatures. In 2004, she and her father, Brian Sherman AM, founded Voiceless; the organisation is now one of Australia’s leading animal protection groups. And Ondine’s social-media platform, Franimals, has become a popular community for animal-loving teens across the globe. You might like to check it out. 

Ondine, who grew up in Sydney, now lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and three children. Her three mischievous street cats, two loyal dogs and a sweet ex-battery chicken all keep her extraordinarily entertained. Check out her latest book and read her answers to our Q&A.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sometimes you have to lose everything to find yourself. After her mother’s death, Sky leaves her city life to move in with her aunt and uncle in a small Australian town. But the city isn’t all that she leaves behind. Trying to fit in with her new friends means doing things she never dreamt she’d do. 

Just as she thinks everything is starting to feel normal, Sky stumbles on a case of animal cruelty that forces her to make some tough decisions. 

Will Sky risk everything to stand up for what she believes in?

 

Sky by Ondine Sherman

 

AUTHOR Q&A

What gave you the idea to write Sky?
I dreamt up a character who I would have wanted to aspire to as a teenager, a strong passionate young woman who could be a heroine for voiceless animals. In many ways, I wrote Sky for my younger self.

From the moment I imagined Sky and her story, I became very excited about writing my first ever fiction. I wanted to create an engaging and interesting book, full of the highs and lows of being a teenager, which also introduces young people to some of the animal issues I have been passionate about since I was young.

You are the Managing Director and co-founder of the animal protection organisation Voiceless. How does Sky explore animal rights and animal cruelty? Do you feel that the novel is a useful medium in which to advocate animal protection?
I meet many young people who care about animals and they often know about popular issues, like saving whales or the importance of adopting rather than buying dogs and cats. However, the vast majority of animal suffering takes place in intensive factory farming and these systems are hidden behind a ‘veil of secrecy’ and not well understood. I hope Sky introduces readers to some of the bigger ‘legalised’ cruelty that animals experience today.

To accompany the book, Voiceless has developed a range of educational resources such as fact sheets, videos, infographics and teaching notes that will help students think critically about the issues raised. I hope Sky will become a classroom favourite with teachers and students alike.

Why did you decide to use a small country town as the setting for Sky?
Sky moves from her ‘alternative’ city life to a small country town and I enjoyed breaking down some of the assumptions about the divide between urban and rural communities as it relates to animal protection. Intensive farming takes place outside of urban centres and often city-dwellers of accused of living in an ‘ivory tower’ and being out of touch with reality. However, from my many years running a national animal organisation, I know from experience that people from all walks of life, from the country, big cities and everything in between, are equally compassionate about animals and concerned about animal cruelty.

What other novels, music or films have influenced your writing?
I have always been a huge reader and will devour anything and everything from the classics, biographies to the latest bestseller. I think reading profusely leads to writing well, no matter your taste or style. I’m a huge fan of movies and watch a range from Hollywood to art-house. I actually studied film in my first degree and I’m quite a visual learner too. When I write, I see the scenes played out in front of me like a storyboard for a film. Music has also definitely influenced my writing and I’m drawn to singer-songwriters where lyrics are poems and so much is said in a few wellchosen words. I am impressed that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature as his lyrics merge music with literature.

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