Updated Monday 18th January 2016
(Reminder about my prize give away worth over $340 in total for first. second and third prize. See prize details at the end of this post.)
Hi friends, fans and followers,
Anyone who knows anything about me knows that a lot of who I am as a person is indelibly stamped on the traits of the characters I write about. Nowhere is this more true than with Red Bear. Being my first true story, The Misadventures of Red Bear is more than just a cute anecdotal rhyming narrative. It is a biographical account of my own life story. Red Bear is an innocent who finds himself at odds with the other bears in his family and community. He is clumsy, silly and flawed, but he is also completely misunderstood. But he is not the only character who is representative of the author.
In The Black Fairy and The Dragonfly, Lilly finds herself abandoned and left to make a life for herself, through no fault of her own. Again she is an innocent who just wants to be accepted. Both Red Bear and Lilly share common traits even though they inhabit entirely different worlds. Red Bear relies almost completely on skills he only explores when confronted by danger, much to the delight of everyone around him. Lilly has innate magic that likewise, she discovers every time she is forced to confront evil. Both of these characters grow in strength and influence as they become more accepted by the strange creatures they encounter outside of the world of their original family.
Even Glenys, The Little Green Hen is not treated very well by those who should understand her best. Her journey, like that of Red Bear and Lilly, pushes her to explore the greater world around her and find a place amongst the exotic landscape and characters beyond her home.Kipp the kid is also representative of the author, but in very different ways. He has no magic, no real skills, other than a love for exploration and adventure. But even Kipp finds he is bullied and maligned in the school context, which forces him to seek solace in solitude. If not for the love of Jane and her admiration for this unusual boy, he would have been entirely alone.
If you investigate each of the various characters in my books, you will see my personality shining through, sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle, but always present. Which brings me to Children of Mars. It was not my intention to write my family into this book. It is something that happened by osmosis as I wrote the story. I ended up with nine children and by coincidence I am one of nine children myself. But whilst there are similarities with my own siblings, I made a conscious effort to depart from mirroring characters and instead placed a part of my own personality and some of each of my siblings into each of the characters so that they are all different and unique, but share common problems.
Even Tamsin in Star Child shares a lot in common with me. She also is alone in the universe, though the reason for this has nothing to do with being abandoned by family. Yet, her struggles as she tries to figure out her place in time and space, definitely features elements of not only my story, but my personality. Aside from my own personal flaws, of which I am acutely aware, there are also special qualities that manifest as gifts or abilities or magic or uniqueness that people would not know about me. Tamsin has a strength about her, a tenacity, a resilience born of necessity. Lilly has a power innately intertwined into her very being. She exhibits elements of the prophetic, insight, the ability to see beyond the obvious and deep into the life about her. She is also extremely brave, undeterred by the massiveness of her challenges, always pushing relentlessly forward, driven onward, as it were, by the demons of her past as well as her undying hope for the future.
All of my characters are written from the huge bank of knowledge and experience from my own life as a son, a brother, a father, a husband and a teacher. I have observed carefully the interactions of those about me and filed anecdotes and stories away in my long term memory, picking out valuable insights to be used as devices to tell meaningful stories through the eyes of the characters I have invented. But it would be a mistake to discount these stories as merely the imagination of the author. They are much more than that. They are the physical manifestation of the problems, challenges, thoughts and desires of a little bear you all know as Paul. I don’t love myself as much as I love the characters which represent me. But it is through those characters that the readers will discover more about me and, perhaps, if I have been successful in my writing, just as much about themselves.
I am certain anyone who picks up one of my books will discover they are as original and unique as I am. You will not regret it. And if you approach your reading of those stories from the perspective of learning more about me as an author you may find that you are surprised, intrigued and fascinated because the stories will suddenly be as real to you as they are to me.
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