When I was about five or so, I had a friend at school. He was an Italian boy, a head of thick, dark hair and eyes like melted chocolate. He was funny too, I giggled constantly whenever he was around. I had a massive crush on him, one of those kiddie crushes where you feel some sort of attraction to someone without really understanding what it is you feel. Then, one day I got to school and he wasn’t there. He never came back and I never found out where he went. It was a long time ago, and I still think of him surprisingly often. But Time, as is its cruel way, has faded many of the memories. To my shame, I can’t even remember his name. So what does a writer do to keep the ones that are still left? I made him into a book character.
For Sky Song I grew my little Italian boy up and called him Luca. That’s Gianluca to his mum, of course, who adores him. He’s gorgeous, naturally, an outrageous flirt with a razor-sharp wit. His enthusiasm for life is infectious, as is his humour. He’s the class joker who doesn’t think beyond his next gag. But he’s a loyal and true friend with the heart of a lion and a hidden depth of keen intelligence. A boy just waiting for the right moment to be glorious. Exactly the sort of boy you want on your side when you’re saving the universe.
So, ciao, my little Italian boy, wherever you are. I hope you like your imaginary self.