Having Sailing Adventures

Diane Fagan Author Interview

Jodie’s Adventure on Driftwood Island follows a young girl visiting the island with her classmates who ends up uncovering a sinister plot involving the wildlife there. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

When I arrived in Australia from Canada, over 40 years ago, some friends introduced me to sailing and I thought it was a wonderful experience to be out on the ocean, feeling the sun and the wind on my face. When we returned from the day out and put the boat back on its mooring, I’d look up at the boatshed next to the wharf and imagine a young girl living upstairs with her father. I thought how magical it would be to live there year round, and I dreamed up stories about a girl living above a boatshed, and having sailing adventures around the harbour.

The setting of Driftwood Island is based on a real island off the coast of Australia, called Fraser Island, or K’Gari, a world listed heritage site where I’ve holidayed with my husband and four children. It is a beautiful sand island with rainforests and lakes, and amazing wildlife. Off the coast there are dolphins and whales and turtles and so many marine animals. Unfortunately, wildlife smuggling is a large problem in Australia and it is difficult to control. Many animals perish by being stuck in suitcases and boxes and I wanted to highlight this activity by placing Jodie on a school excursion where she discovers this illegal activity and uses her courage and determination to help the rangers catch the criminals.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

I love Jodie’s resilience and determination! Many children today struggle with issues of self-esteem and self-worth, and can feel anxious and lonely, especially with the pressures of social media. So, I want to show young readers that they too can cope with life’s challenges and develop a sense of self belief by being willing to get out and play sport, or go for walks, or just be in nature. Jodie’s interest in the natural world helps to take her away from her problems and leads her to amazing adventures and experiences.

What were some educational aspects that were important for you to include in this children’s book?

Jodie goes to a girl’s school, St Margarets, where her mother and grandmother attended and initially she is bullied and unhappy. It can be difficult for children starting a new school and Jodie struggles, but she eventually makes friends and learns to stand up to the bully. I like that she can support her friends when they are bullied, and she even tries to help the girl who bullied her when she is stalked by a dingo, during their school excursion.

I hope the series continues in other books. If so, where will it take readers?

This is my third book in the Jodie series and is set on an island off the coast of Australia. The other two books are based in Sydney Harbour. The first book deals with the death of Jodie’s mother and the problems she has of coping with a new school and a father who is locked in grief. The second book is based at a real place in Sydney called Crater Cove, where Jodie meets a homeless girl and comes to her aid when she is in trouble.

My fourth book is entitled Jodie’s Challenge at Sandpiper Hill. It is also based in Sydney Harbour where Jodie finds a colourful bottle washed up on the sand. She is determined to discover the mystery of the bottle and with her usual doggedness, is led to a series of adventures, where she learns about the value of friendship and family.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

Twelve-year old Jodie Jackson goes on a school excursion to Driftwood Island. They go on bush walks through the rainforest and swim in crystal blue lakes.

Jodie sleeps in a tent with her best friend Sarah Chan and one afternoon they spot a mother dingo with two pups. One of the pups is limping.

Jodie finds a teddy bear in the car park and gives it to Andrea, who was teased because she had brought her own teddy bear to camp.

Jodie helps Teela, the senior ranger, try and save a beached dolphin but sadly it dies. Teela tells her a story about dolphins and living in Lemeuria.

Jodie and her friends go on a boat to see the whales and she finds some more teddy bears and some white tubes hidden in the bottom of the boat.

When they arrive back at shore, one of the girls goes off by herself to collect a piece of driftwood, and a dingo starts to stalk her. The teacher tries to help but falls over, so Jodie and her friends run over as a group, shouting and screaming and rescue her.

When Jodie stubs her toe on a tent peg, and can’t walk to the shipwreck, she accompanies Teela on her ranger duties. At the Resort, Jodie notices two men having an argument, and one of them drops a box filled with the same white tubes. Later she sees the same men at the creek at the Old Village where they act suspiciously.

Jodie and Maddie drive to a historic cabin and discover some boxes containing white tubes, and Maddie is bitten by a snake. Jodie tries to call for help on her two-way but can’t get reception. She tries to drive the jeep to the main road but the same two men appear and Jodie convinces them to drive Maddie back to the Ranger’s Office. They leave her at the shack.
Jodie notices a reptile coming out of one of the white tubes and finds more reptiles in other tubes, and realizes the men are wildlife smugglers. She releases the reptiles in the bush and the men return so she hides. They discover her and are angry at her for releasing the animals and they tie her up and leave with a baby dingo that they had captured.

One of the men drops a cigarette and a fire starts. Jodie struggles to free herself but one of the men returns and releases her and puts out the fire. Together they drive back and notify the rangers that the other man is boarding a ferry with the baby dingo.

The police arrest both men and Jodie is praised for her assistance with the smugglers. Teela promises to look after the rescued baby dingo.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on January 26, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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