“For now, while most of our adventures are confined to our living rooms, our imaginations are not.” Jenny Pearson, author of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates
About the Book
About the Author
As someone with Welsh heritage myself I was interested to know why Jenny had chosen to set the story in Wales. Read her answer below.
A Super Miraculous Setting
by Jenny Pearson
Why did you set The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates in Wales? It’s a question I get asked quite frequently. And the answer is because of the Scottish midges.
Most years, my family and I spend the summer in our Bongo campervan and the summer before I began writing Freddie Yates, we were considering a journey around Scotland. But when I googled what we might need for our proposed trip a full bee-keeper outfit was a suggestion. I began to think that maybe we should go to Scotland out of midge season and instead camp somewhere else. And that somewhere was Wales.
Having only been to Cardiff before, I soon discovered that Wales is an exceptionally beautiful country and one I will definitely visit again. That’s not to say Cardiff is without its charms but the Welsh countryside is truly spectacular, as is the coast. I like to go running and the sights I saw have weaved themselves into the book – the fields of sheep and the small track roads, the rocky shorelines and the wonderful old churches. In fact, Three Saints church in Llampha, where Freddie, Ben and Charlie spend a night is based on a church I stopped at when I needed a run-wee. And Freddie’s journey finishes at the most westernest part of Wales, St David’s, which is actually where my family’s camping trip came to an end after our tent was blown away at three in the morning. Fun times.
Because Freddie loves facts, I thought I might share some facts about Wales which might even make you want to visit yourself.
FACT 1 – You can see deep stuff!
The deepest cave in the whole of Britain can be found near Abercraf. Ogof Ffynnon Dddu is 1,010ft deep.
FACT 2 – You can see old stuff!
The oldest tree in Wales is the Llangernyw Yew in St Digain’schurch yard, Llangernyw, near Conwy. It’s approximately 4,000 years old!
FACT 3- You can see big stuff!
The great glasshouse in the National Botanical Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire, is the largest single-span glasshouse in the world, measuring 312ft in length and 180ft in width.
FACT 4 – You can see small stuff!
Rhos-on-sea has, in St Trillo’s, the smallest chapel in Britain, measuring only 11ft by 8ft and seating just six people.
FACT 5 – You can see uddery stuff!
The Mumbles are two little islands in Swansea bay. They get their name from the French word ‘mamelles’, meaning udders. Who wouldn’t want to go and see two islands that look like udders?
I think you’ll agree that I have provided a very compelling argument as to why you should visit Wales as well as explaining why I set my book there. Maybe one day you’ll enjoy a journey around Wales. If you do, you might want some reading material. Hey! Why don’t you try The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates?
Diolch am ddarllen (thanks for reading)!
Authors note: The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates does not HAVE to be read in Wales. You can read it wherever you like. Eg in bed, on the loo even on a trampoline if you are very talented.
Also, Jenny has created some brilliant videos and challenges that’s she’s keen to get people joining in with so do join her! Her content will be hosted daily on Usborne’s YouTube channel from Monday 27th April – Friday 1st May with accompanying activity sheets – all available to download on Usborne.com/freddieyates. The Illustrator Rob Biddulph will even be doing a special Freddie Yates draw-along on publication day, Thursday 30 April!
Do also check out the other stops on the tour and keep an eye out for my own review coming soon.
I’m pleased to be hosting a guest post from author Lindsay Littleson today. Her newest middle grade novel Guardians of the Wild Unicorns was released on 21st February. When I read the synopsis I was struck by the conservation angle that the book was taking. With a number of animals recently confirmed as extinct, Japan’s whaling, production of palm oil threatening orangutan habitats, this is a timely topic.
Guardians of the Wild Unicorns explores themes of friendship, adventure and conservation. The story emphasises the importance of caring for wildlife, and is particularly relevant for today’s world, when we are facing a huge variety of environmental challenges, from the large scale ecological disaster that is the deforestation of the Amazon, to the woodland habitat loss suffered by the critically endangered Scottish wildcat.
In Guardians of the Wild Unicorns, Whindfall Forest is the refuge of Scotland’s last remaining herd of unicorns. The two protagonists, Lewis and Rhona, must endeavour to keep the herd safe from a gamekeeper who has hatched an evil plan to capture and kill the unicorns for their beautiful spiralled horns. Comparisons are made in the novel to the poaching of elephants for their tusks and of rhinos for their horns. Like the unicorns in the story, rhinos are targeted by poachers because some people mistakenly believe that the horns cure ailments and are willing to pay huge sums.
Her brain filled with images she’d glimpsed on television: heaps of tusks, white as bone, long as spears; muddied elephant corpses buzzing with flies; tiny orphaned calves; blank-eyed poachers with guns slung over their shoulders. When terrible stuff like that came on the news, Mum tended to flick channels, back to the safety of celebrity quiz shows or cooking programmes, where ugly, tragic real life wasn’t allowed to intrude. And now animal poaching had come here, to this beautiful Highland moor.
My unicorns might be wild and dangerous, with horns like spears, but no animal is a match for armed poachers. Endangered animals need the help of humans who are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect them. To save the unicorns, my protagonists have to be both courageous and determined, but I wanted them to be as real as my setting. Neither Rhona nor Lewis would describe themselves as brave, but the definition of courage in the Oxford Dictionary is ‘the ability to do something that frightens one’ and both children are willing to put themselves in danger to save Scotland’s last herd of wild unicorns.
Thanks Lindsay – this sounds like an excellent story which will be both thrilling and educational. I hope there will be plenty of children – and adults – inspired by this post to take action to help endangered species.
Lewis is cold, wet and miserable on his school residential trip in the Highlands of Scotland. The last thing he expects to see is a mythical creature galloping across the bleak moorland. Unicorns aren’t real… are they?
Lewis and his best friend Rhona find themselves caught up in a dangerous adventure to save the world’s last herd of wild unicorns. Fighting against dark forces, battling the wild landscape, and harnessing ancient magic, can they rescue the legendary creatures in time?
Lindsay Littleson is a primary school teacher in Renfrewshire, Scotland. After taking up writing for children in early 2014, she won the Kelpies Prize for new Scottish writing for children with her first children’s novel, The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean.
Thank you to Kirsten at Floris Books/Discover Kelpies who #gifted me a copy of Guardians of the Wild Unicorns which I’m hoping to read and review very soon.
For the first of my two stops on the blog tour for Forsaken Genesis I’d like to welcome author M. J. Marinescu with a guest post on the best things about being an author.
Hi everyone, today I’m going to go over some of my favourite things about being an author. This is by no means a be all end all list, but it’s just some of the things that I love most about my job.
Being your own boss: As an author, you get to be your own boss (for the most part). Some traditionally published authors do have a boss in a sense, they have a publisher who gives them a deadline or an agent that schedules events and meetings etc., but for the most part, even they are in control of their own day to day activities.
Self-published and Indie-published authors are in even more control of their day to day routines. This can be good or bad for people. It takes a highly motivated and driven person to succeed as a self-published or Indie author. You do not have an agent or publishing house marketing your work, so you need to get out there and do it all yourself. Being able to set your own schedule and pace can be very rewarding.
For me, this isn’t so bad because I love interacting with people, especially fans, not even necessarily my own fans but fans of sci-fi and fantasy in general. I, like many other writers, do have deep running anxiety about “being out in the world” but you need to learn to deal with the butterflies and get out there and spread the word.
Working at something you love: This should probably go without saying, but I love telling stories and sharing them with people. Shortly after I learned to read and write I started creating stories. My first story ever written was about a spacefaring penguin. I remember being so happy and proud of it and bringing it in to my kindergarten teacher. She was even impressed, and we used to read them out to the class. Ever since that day I was hooked.
I know it’s totally cliché to say but if you’re doing something you love you never have to work a day in your life.
Interacting with readers: The best part about writing to me is seeing peoples’ reactions to my stories. Having them fall in love with and/or hate certain characters. Reading fan theories or forums discussing little details most people may overlook. These are the best things about being a writer. There’s nothing better than knowing people love your work, the world and characters you’ve created. If I can make someone’s day a little better through my writing, then I’ve done my job, and without the wonderful fans, I could not do what I do.
Creation! A God am I: I love being able to create worlds and people. Something that I have really noticed lately, in Hollywood especially (sorry to call you out Hollywood) is the lack of original ideas or willingness to take risks on new ideas. We’re seeing this more and more with all the reboots from 80’s and 90’s movies and cartoons and generally predictable movies.
One thing that I enjoy doing is taking ideas and putting my own spin on them. You can see this in my novel Forsaken Genesis. While it’s an “Urban Fantasy” I have taken things and thrown them all together. It’s why I struggle to give my book a genre because it combines so many elements of different ones. Is it Cyberpunk? New Adult? Young Adult? Urban Fantasy? LGBTQ+ Fiction etc. etc.
Being able to let your imagination run wild to create fantastical worlds and places is a wonderful feeling. One word of warning, however, is that to always make sure you have a solid foundation for your worlds and abide by the rules you have created. One of my pet peeves as a fan (and I’m sure I’m not alone on this) is when a writer sets up a world and tells us the rules only to have something come along later and change things on us. Gravity will always be gravity, I don’t expect to wake up one morning, take a step outside and float off into space so don’t do that in your writing either. This may be a bit of an extreme example, but the notion holds true. Your readers deserve better than that so think twice before you do something “against your rules”.
The other thing I love about being free to create the stories I want to tell is that I can do just that. I can tell the story that I want to tell. If you want to see more diversity and representation in movies, art and literature sometimes you need to get out there and do it yourself. I pride myself on having diversity in my stories that doesn’t feel forced. My characters are who they are, period. They aren’t held back by their identity or used as a “token” they are fleshed out beings and I hope people can smile and feel proud and even relate to them.
There’s nothing in the world I would rather do than tell a good story.
So those are some of the things that I love most about being an author. What do you all think? What are some of your favourite things about writing? Let me know in the comments below or if you have any other questions or even if you just want to talk hit me up on Twitter @MJMarinescu. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this, hope you all have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon.
Come back on Halloween to find out more about Forsaken Genesis.