“It was important for us to invent worlds where they can use and apply these skills”
In spring 2020, the novel “Helden wider Willen – Ankunft in Ænderland” by Molly Spitta and Nathalie Martius-Weber will be published by the sustainable publishing house Matabooks. A young adult novel about five children who disappear from the earth at the same time.
matabooks: What inspired you to write the story about “Heroes Against Their Will” and the world of Ænderland?
Molly and Nathalie: We wondered if it was possible to write an adventure novel that dealt with aspects of the digital world without being set in a game reality.
This question then gradually gave rise to the story.
An important aspect of your story is that it is told from the point of view of many different characters. Which character is particularly close to your heart and why?
Molly: Having lived in Botswana for a few years, Thaba is especially close to my heart. He is just as much a village kid as the kids who live in our village in the Kalahari. Skilled at handicrafts, resourceful, sporty, likes to laugh, doesn’t plan too far ahead…
By the way, he would never live vegan. That is completely outside a culture that relies on meat for food. From that point of view, it is also exciting to have such a character in your publishing house. The world is big, there are many ways of life and in a global thinking world we all have to get along, respect each other and learn from each other. By the way, I had to learn to eat Mopane worms in the Kalahari, which would not be my first choice of food either….
Nathalie: For me, that’s Carlitos. He has mischievousness in his neck and at the same time is so touchingly innocent. Totally cheerful and energetic most of the time. He was born out of a conglomeration of children I met in Perú.
Ænderland is divided into several parts, what is special about them?
Molly and Nathalie: The children come from different parts of the world. Therefore, they have different skills and cultural techniques. It was important for us to invent worlds where they can use and apply these skills:So the tech-savvy Caitlin ends up with the wind messengers, the writing Zoe with the word weavers, Thaba as a tracker with the nomadic metallics, the agile Carlitos in the alleys and the cinema-crazy Jamal in a sphere world that he can create himself.
In order for them to get back home and all survive, they have to throw their skills together and work as a team.
The leaf forest with its inhabitants also depends on these abilities so that it does not perish. You can look forward to that in part two.
What is a lexicon?
Nathalie: The Lexicus is a mixture of mad genius and living archive. He collects everything worth knowing and also experiments with himself to gain new knowledge. He collects all this in his book-like body. He is the memory of the leaf forest and unites the knowledge of Ænderland in himself. He also serves as an advisor.
What does the title mean in terms of the story?
Molly: The main characters are thrown into the story and have to pass tasks they did not choose. Some of them require a lot of courage and the children face them in order to get back home.
They have to become heroes, but heroes against their will.
What is the most important thing readers can take away from your story?
Molly and Nathalie: It is always possible to develop into a better version of yourself, especially if you get support in the process. When we put our different skills together, we will always be more successful than we would be alone. We too had to throw our different skills into a pot and stir vigorously, otherwise, Ænderland might have gotten stuck somewhere…
We will need this attitude to save our own planet, the Earth.