Author Guest Post: “Unveiling Memories and Creativity” by Will Hillenbrand, Author of Voices in the Hollow


“Unveiling Memories and Creativity”

I invite you to join me on a deeply personal journey into the heart of my childhood memories through the pages of The Voice in the Hollow. Here, I’ll share how this narrative became a cherished part of my life and shaped my understanding of memory, creativity, and the power of sharing our most cherished stories.

Retracing my steps

The Voice in the Hollow is more than just a book; it’s a portal to my past. I’m transported back to the footpath of the Old Hollow, a place that once held so much mystery and wonder for me. It’s a story that captures the essence of my childhood.

Recreating Childhood Experiences

One of the most exciting aspects of crafting The Voice in the Hollow was the opportunity to recreate the sensory experiences that defined that unforgettable adventure. The scent of mothballs in the frozen air, the crunch of snow underfoot, the chill that sent shivers down my spine – these details were not just written words but memories brought to life.

As I wrote and illustrated, I was determined to make readers feel right there with me, stepping in my footprints through the snow, experiencing the same wonder and mystery that captivated me many years ago. This journey was not just about storytelling but about sharing a piece of my soul.

Guarding My Treasure

For decades, The Voice in the Hollow remained a secret, known only to me. It was a mystery I kept hidden, waiting and wondering if I should ever share it with the world. I always felt a deep connection to this story. When I reached middle age, I made, with great care, the decision to retell it to my wife. This retelling unlocked a more profound passage into the story’s mystery. Still, I wondered how I could adequately visualize this for young readers.

Peeling Back the Layers of Creativity

Now, let’s dive into the creative process behind this narrative. Crafting a story like The Voice in the Hollow is not just about putting words on paper; it’s about building a world, populating it with characters like Hubert Cumberbun, and weaving emotions into the fabric of the narrative and landscape.

I wanted to create a story that resonated with readers and inspired them to explore their VOICE as a storyteller (as Hubert has) and the acceptance of mystery as an essential fabric of our lives.

Illustrations: Adding Depth to the Narrative

One of the most exciting aspects of The Voice in the Hollow is the collaboration between storytelling and illustration. The visuals in the book aren’t just there for decoration; they are an integral part of the storytelling experience. Each illustration is a brushstroke in the canvas of memory, capturing the essence of the narrative and offering readers a visual connection to the story’s world.

As an author/ illustrator, I could blur the lines between words and pictures. I don’t understand it; I can’t describe it, yet another mystery—the magic of the picture book.

Memory and Transformation

At its core, The Voice in the Hollow explores the profound connections between memory, creativity, and transformation. It’s a story that reminds us of the enduring influence of childhood experiences on our adult lives. The adventures and encounters of our youth continue to shape our choices and perspectives, no matter how many years have passed.

By sharing this story, I inspire others to reflect on their childhood memories and find THE VOICE for the stories that have shaped them. Our past experiences can influence our present and future, no matter how distant.

In Conclusion

As you journey into the heart of “The Voice in the Hollow,” I want to express my gratitude for allowing me to share this deeply personal narrative with you. It’s a story that has been guarded and cherished for decades, and I’m thrilled to bring it into print finally.

My story behind this story has given you a glimpse into the world of memory, creativity, and storytelling. May it inspire you to explore your memories and creative passions and appreciate the stories that have shaped your life. “The Voice in the Hollow” is a testament to the enduring power of childhood experiences and the transformative potential of sharing our most cherished stories. Thank you for joining me on the Hollow, and I look forward to sharing more stories with you in the future.

Published October 3rd, 2023 by Holiday House

About the Book: A young mouse’s shortcut home turns into a fantastical journey guided by a mysterious guardian in this wintery tale with a breath-taking double gatefold surprise.

When a blizzard closes the library early, Hubert decides to take a shortcut home through the spooky Hollow. Just as Hubert is gathering his nerve to press on, another mouse appears and offers to take his hand.

Together they journey through the snow, an ominous forest, over fallen trees traversing ravines, and over the mountains. Hidden in the terrain are scenes that evoke myths of the origins of Earth’s mysterious features and nature’s erratic behavior. In a stunning double gatefold sleeping bears spring to life, setting off a landslide and sending Hubert and his guardian running.

Just as Hubert is reaching his destination he turns to find his guide gone. Hubert races home to tell his family about his wild adventure through the Hollow.

In this winter tale, with a sparse text  Will Hillenbrand crafts a new family favorite for settling down on snowy nights.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of the Year

Thank you, Will, for taking us on this journey and giving us insight into your process that we can share with our readers!

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