Thank you to Rachel for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for marvellous Finn and Fred’s Arctic Adventure by Jocelyn Porter! Just look at this cover- it’s bound to put a smile on your face!
Finn and Fred’s Arctic Adventure
“My bus takes off with a sonic boom, straight through the wall and out of my room…”
Finn and Fred Octopus are off on a magical adventure to the Arctic. They meet a kindly seal, a hungry polar bear and an angry walrus. The whales sing to Finn, and Finn arrives home with an important message to share…
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Guest Post by Jocelyn Porter
Finn and Fred’s Arctic Adventure
Writing Finn and Fred was a joyful experience. I set out to write a story about a lonely child who went on imaginary adventures with his toy octopus, but when I found a battered old suitcase under Finn’s bed, the story took a whole new direction. The suitcase turned into a magic bus, and Finn and Fred ended up in the Arctic Circle.
At the end of the story, I discovered Finn was not lonely. He had many school friends who he recruited to help him look after the oceans and sea creatures. The environmental message in the story informs young readers, in a gentle way, there is a role they can play in protecting this world. Hopefully it will be a role they remember throughout their lives.
For 15 years I was writer/editor of preschool magazines that were sold in the UK, Australia and South Africa. Every month I wrote a short story, along with rhymes and activities. Thinking up plots and writing at speed became second nature. When I left that role, I couldn’t get the writing bug out of my system, so I decided to write books instead.
My first book, Three Times Round the Corkscrew Tree, is a magical fantasy and Kate, the main protagonist, is an 8-year-old girl who loves baking and has ambitions to cook on television with a well-known chef. A volunteer presenter at Hospital Radio Plymouth found my book at a local bookshop and asked if I could provide stories for Hospital Radio to broadcast for the children in hospital.
I happily agreed, and with many short stories sitting in my filing cabinet, I set to work editing them for radio. This new venture gave me a reason to continue writing books. I was fortunate enough to find Nick Jones of children’s book publisher Full Media Ltd. Nick is a great believer in charity work, and he’s already published two of my picture books, with a percentage of profit of each book going to charity.
Much of that joy of writing Finn and Fred came from the wonderful illustrations created by the amazing Leo Brown. He brought my story to life with realistic and amusing images, each image an education in itself.
The second joyful experience was dedicating the book to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. We have already given the Sanctuary 100 books to sell in their shop. The full purchase price of these books goes directly to the Sanctuary, to contribute to their much-needed funds.
Check out the Seal Sanctuary website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter. They would really appreciate your company and support. You will see the amazing work they do, rescuing, nursing and releasing seals back into the wild, and creating a loving home for seals that can no longer look after themselves at sea.
I’m delighted to say the staff at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary love the book. Leo Brown created a wonderful cover for my book featuring Finn and Fred and three beautiful seals with entrancing eyes. The Sanctuary staff encourage visitors to bring their dogs. In the safe conditions of the Sanctuary, dogs and seals seem to interact with each other in an extraordinary way; it’s all in the eyes and whiskers! No wonder baby seals are called pups.
Writing in rhyme requires patience. Sometimes the rhymes fall into place, but sometimes you end up at a brick wall. Then it takes hours of searching, often re-writing several verses. RhymeZone.com and the thesaurus become your best friends. That’s when you appreciate the richness of the English language; it has so many words that can mean the same thing.
Writing in rhyme is a bit like exploring a maze. Before setting out you need a metaphorical picnic hamper, a cushion and a sense of adventure. Every time you take a wrong turn or come to a brick wall, sit down, open the hamper and relax for a while. You will find your brain will sort its way through a variety of options, and when you set off again you will be on the right track.
I hope other writers enjoy writing in rhyme as much as I do. It’s not easy; it can take as long as writing a chapter of prose to get one verse right. Near rhymes are not good enough, the rhyming words have to be perfect or they will jar when read out loud. Rhyme is a song where the words are the music.
Author Bio – Jocelyn’s writing career began when she was asked to write a story for a preschool magazine. That story was the first of many. Jocelyn became the writer/editor of several preschool magazines and continued in that role for 15 years. Writing one new story every month, plus rhymes and activities was a tough gig, but very exhilarating. Time is the big difference between writing for a magazine and writing a book. You see your work on the supermarket shelves within a few weeks of completion. A book takes longer – a lot longer. Jocelyn has to be patient now – not something she’s good at. Before becoming a writer, Jocelyn worked in higher education as International Students Officer. It was a rewarding and interesting job even though she was on call 24/7. Jocelyn also trained as a counsellor and volunteered at drop-in centres. She never knew who would arrive for counselling and had to be prepared for anything. This work gave her insight into some of the darker corners of life. Motor sport was one of Jocelyn’s early loves, she had the spine-tingling thrill of taking part in a 24-hour national rally as navigator – those were the days when rallies were held on public roads! Jocelyn worked as an au pair in Paris in her teens. Having visited the city on a school trip, she fell in love with it, and always wanted to return. Jocelyn’s first book published by Full Media is The King Who Didn’t Like Snow, illustrated by Michael S Kane. Finn and Fred’s Arctic Adventure is her second book under Full Media and is illustrated by Leo Brown.
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Thank you for stopping by and thank you to Jocelyn for her wonderful guest post!
Have a wonderful Saturday!
This book looks great, good for kids to learn as much as they can about the environment. The author has had quite an interesting career.
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He just sounds so spontaneous and fun 🙂 Exactly what you need at this age.
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