We’re handing over today’s blog to Chris Higgins, who is just coming to the end of a month of events to celebrate publication of her latest teen novel, A Boy Called Ocean, published by Hachette Books.
Well, after 24 books I’ve had some great launches in my time but few could surpass the event on June 14, the publication date of my latest teen novel, A Boy Called Ocean.
And launch was the right word for it because I am thrilled to say that sitting on the stage with me at St John’s Hall, Penzance, was the coxswain of the Penlee Lifeboat, Patch Harvey, and European surf-lifesaving champion and local beach lifeguard, Mesha Wardman.
An audience of nearly 250 people – pupils from Cornish schools, teachers, librarians and invited guests – packed into the hall to hear how the book was inspired by the real-life rescue of Joe Holtaway by the Penlee lifeboat. An experienced surfer, he had drifted out to sea on a surfboard. But my novel is not Joe’s story. It’s the story of Kai, a troubled 15-year-old boy who goes out surfing after a row with his girlfriend and discovers too late that he can’t get back. And through that extraordinary, terrifying, sometimes surreal ordeal, I tell the various stories that led to that crisis. It’s a love story, a coming of age story, a coming to terms with the past story.
But the overall message is unequivocal. And it’s one of which I’m particularly aware, living in Penzance with its perfect surfing beaches. Don’t head out to sea without telling someone!
The enthusiasm of the audience was amazing as Patch and Mesha answered questions on sea-safety and I read and took questions on my new book and there was quite a rush to get hold of the book at the end of the event! Trust me, there’s nothing an author likes more than a queue of eager readers asking her to sign their book. I’ll never tire of that.
A Boy Called Ocean took me longer to write than any of my other teen novels and I’m very proud of it. It required so much research – which I found fascinating. Huge thanks to everybody who gave me their time and shared their expertise. But I’d like to pay particular tribute to the RNLI who keep our coastal communities safe, and who made this book possible.
Many thanks, Chris – and here’s to continuing success with A Boy Called Ocean.
You can buy signed copies if you get in touch with Chris’s local bookshop, The Edge of the World Bookshop in Penzance here. And of course you can buy copies from your local bookshop, and borrow it from your local library.
And we’d welcome any reviews!