Is The Snow Girl a true story? The real-life inspiration behind the crime thriller

The Snow Girl

The Snow Girl – known as La Chica De Nieve in Spanish – has all the makings of an edgy mystery crime thriller with the promise of an equally distressing emotional watch. What begins as a classic story of child abduction unravels to reveal a larger-than-life conspiracy in the six-episode limited series.

Based on the Spanish author Javier Castillo’s 2020 novel of the same, the plot of the series centers around the disappearance of a 6-year-old Amaya Martín, and the quest of a young journalist Miren Rojo (played by Milena Smit) to find her. The Netflix show delicately tackles the topic of missing children and its connection to sex trafficking and pedophilia.

The Snow Girl, while entirely fictional, is based on a “what-if scenario” envisioned by the author

A few years ago, Javier Castillo got the idea to write The Snow Girl while walking down the street with his wife and their 3-year-old daughter. In the brief moment that he let go of his daughter’s hand, he was overwhelmed with the worst possibility of never seeing her again.

Castillo’s fear of being separated from his child and the growing concern about pedophilia in the world inspired him to pen his thoughts in a book. This is reflected in the novel and the subsequent adaption where the disappearance of young Amaya is tied to an international child pornography ring that operates on the dark web.

“I think it represents the worst nightmare that any family can have. When I wrote the novel, I did a lot of research, not only in figures and statistics but also in news from almost the whole world about this type of tragedy. It has such a great impact on families that it is extremely painful,” said Castillo.

Castillo also intended to convey a message about sensational journalism that often accompanies the news of missing children cases. In an accurate depiction of media sensationalism, The Snow Girl’s protagonist Miren works at Diario Sur, which is a real regional newspaper in Spain.

He advocated for the importance of local journalism and its role in “realistic” and “non-ideological” coverage of the news as opposed to the “grotesque way” the press treats real-life cases. He explained:

“In the series, an attempt has been made to represent that duality of the most sensationalist journalism and journalism truly interested in solving and contributing to society. That more sincere journalism, which does a real job, more than that benefit of getting clicks, visits, and links and putting a morbid headline”

However, there is a major difference in the story’s setting in the series adaptation. In the novel, Amaya goes missing during the 1998 Thanksgiving parade in New York and the story is set in the United States. But the television series follows a narrative closer to home as Amaya disappears during the 2010 Cavalcade of Magi (a traditional parade celebration) in Málaga, Spain.