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Nature Is Imploring Us

Karina McRoberts Author Interview

Ursamer: A Treasury of Feel-Good Stories Book 2 follows a young Inuit girl who tries to find someone that will understand her message about global warming. What was the inspiration for your stories?

Ursamer – the name came into my head. Sound is very important to me as a musician, but also as a writer. Translated, Ursa and Mer mean Bear and Sea. So, I thought I would write about polar bears and what is happening to them. I also wanted to write about climate change from a different slant. Everyone talks about the physical changes to the ice caps, but not so much how this is affecting those who live there.

Ursamer encounters very different people each time she arrives in a different place, how did you decide on where she would appear?

I tried to imagine what it would be like from her perspective and the difficulties she would have in conversing with the people she met. They would be so culturally removed from her. I wanted to show how different people are affected in different ways, but that we’re all in the world together and things are not looking rosy. Someone old and homeless in New York City (Ursamer can’t see why an elder is not treated with respect), famine-stricken refugees in Africa (they are desperate to the point of lost humanity), and me-dominated rich shoppers in a giant mall – the on-demand types. (It’s all about them, and they are totally clueless about what’s going on in the real world, which is, in essence, their world too.)

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

That nature is imploring us to turn ourselves around. The main thing for me is that humanity STILL doesn’t get it. The global pandemic is something that has never happened before. (Yes, others have, but they go away, at least for a while. I have a PhD in disease ecology, so I know what I’m talking about here). This virus is different – it’s not going away.

But, we have not learned from it. This is nature shouting a HUGE wake-up call. We’re a small step ahead with vaccines, but then we just keep going with our self-centred agenda – over-populating, over-consuming, polluting, degrading, destroying…

The ”On Demand” species. Uggh.

Listening is also a central theme of this story. The vast majority of people do not listen. Poor communication is a huge problem.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Well, a few. A comedy/social justice novel – it should be out by the end of the year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Who is this intriguing little girl and her amazing puppy?
Where has she come from? What is her story? She has something very important to say, but no one is listening!
A sweet, poignant tale about climate change, Ursamer is ideal for children ages 8 and older.

The Erebus Tales Series

Norman Westhoff Author Interview

Gifts of a Dark God follow a group of friends trying to stop the colonization of Antarctica while running into some dangerous hurdles. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

See the first two books in the Erebus Tales series, Stone Fever and The Color of Greed, for more background on how a climate-changed Antarctica becomes the focal point of this story.

Which character in the novel do you feel you relate to more and why?

Every major character has a bit of me in it: Keltyn the loner nerd geologist, Joaquin the gimpy but plucky gaucho-wannabee, Luz the impetuous organizer, Fay the defender of the downtrodden, even Helmut Ganz the corporate toady, hiding a fatal character flaw.

What was your favorite scene in this story?

The horse-breeding scene in Chapter 13, though I owe a word of thanks in the conception of that scene to a similar one in Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

No further fiction planned at this time. Readers are referred to the first two books in this series, previously published by Iguana Books.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Rogue geologist Keltyn Sparrowhawk continues her search for the strategic metal iridium in 24th-century Antarctica. In a Canadian jail, charged with murdering her former mentor, she bargains her way out at a dear cost, starting an epic journey via China, then back to the Erebus volcano and her friends Joaquin Beltran and Luz Hogarth. These teens have since forged their own careers, fused from the melting pot of the annual Rendezvous.
Meanwhile, activist Fay Del Campo, sprung from detention, vows to fight Sir Oscar Bailey’s domination of world commerce, even if it means joining forces with a shadowy group of saboteurs. Bailey’s storm trooper Helmut Ganz plots to stop her. Only one of them will survive, and Erebus, the dark mountain god, will have the final say.

Letters From Atlantis: The Legend of Parakos

Pleistocene – The Legend of Parakos is the debut novel by J.P Conrad and tells a story spanning millennia. It begins with the fall of Atlantis thousands of years ago and catches up with us in the 21st Century. Pleistocene starts with an ending, the destruction of Atlantis. Conrad paints Atlantis as a hyper-advanced civilization, much more advanced than we are today. Conrad doesn’t take much time to explain their technology, but one thing soon becomes apparent. Like modern society, they have become overly dependent on a single power source.

Despite multiple warnings, the Atlanteans have doomed themselves to self-destruction through their own greed. We witness this destruction through the eyes of Avis, a 12-year-old boy whose uncle (and guardian) is one of the engineers working on the said power source. Through Avis, we are also introduced to the Elvanelans, another hyper-advanced people whose technology is more akin to magic. Just as we are becoming acquainted with Avis, the book jumps ahead 12 thousand years and introduces us to Keats, a scientist in the 21st Century. The rest of the book follows Keats’ race against time to avert the environmental destruction looming over the modern world. During his journey, we discover more and more connections between the modern-day crisis and what happened to Atlantis thousands of years ago.

Conrad is clearly an environmentalist at heart, and the whole novel reads as a warning of what happens when society fails to look after the environment. Conrad is successful in his goal; the book is bound to make you think. Keats is in a race against time to save the world, which is reflected in how Conrad writes.

The narrative is speedy, breathless almost. Conrad rarely slows down to explain what is going on before Keats (and the reader) are thrown headlong into the following dire situation. This fast-paced action effectively instills in the reader that this is a race against time with high stakes. There are a lot of jumps in perspective as the author ties the two time periods together in the beginning. The jumps allow the reader to make the connections between the modern-day destruction of resources and the downfall of Atlantis.

Letters From Atlantis: Pleistocene – The Legend of Parakos is an exciting read with interesting ideas. If you like a fast-paced adventure, enjoy science fiction or care about the environment, then this is worth a read.

Page: 346 | ISBN : 1637671555

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This Love Will Make Us Better

Tuula Pere
Tuula Pere Author Interview

The Polar Bears’ Journey tells the story of a polar bear mom and her cub being forced to leave their home and find a better place to live. What was the inspiration for your story?

My stories always have many layers. They can be a mixture of experiences of many generations, or they can connect to more general phenomena in society or the environment globally.

“The Polar Bears’ Journey” combines elements of the era of climate change to the destinies of people having to leave their homes as refugees for various reasons. In real life, these elements are sometimes connected, too.

The story about the mother polar bear and her cub makes us feel the worries and pain of many other mothers and fathers, too. So many families are devastated about the uncertain future and the safety of their children globally.

To achieve security, they must first risk the lives of their loved ones. Thinking about this contradiction touches every parent as we understand what families are willing to try for their children. We also understand how little the chance of succeeding is.

I admit that there is one moment in the book where I cried while writing. It’s the point where the mother and child are floating in the sea at night. They have no clear destination in the darkness and hardly any strength left. Still, the mother protects her child and encourages him till the end. The warmth between those two is something that I have always felt for my children.

A parent’s love for the child is something people understand and share wherever they live. I hope that understanding this love will make us better relate to the situation of the families in difficulties as well.

Can you tell readers if it is Dad bear they see at the end of the story reuniting their family?

I have intentionally left the final scene of the story somewhat open. The readers have often asked me what really happened. Did Dad join the family? The destiny of the Granny, who stayed at home, troubles some readers, too.

The open end of the story leaves room for interpretation. I have heard that, e.g., teachers have had lively discussions with their pupils about this very end. I recommend that the adults should discuss the complicated topics in the book with children.

It’s good to listen to the child’s thoughts about the story. A different interpretation may be appropriate for children of various ages. It’s not my intention that anyone would become depressed or too worried about the story or should be left alone to think about the fate of the characters.

I want to believe in happy ends – at least in fairy tales. In my mind, Dad arrives and eventually fetches Granny, too, to the new family home.

Are there any emotions or memories from your own life that you put into your character’s life?

In Finland, we have been living in a time of peace for a long time. Also, the conditions and possibilities for the families have constantly improved in our welfare state. But the events of the rest of the world affect our lives, too.

We Finns also have in mind the experiences of previous generations from the wartime when many families had to make the journey to an uncertain future far from home. Some could return, but it was a change for a lifetime for many.

As a child, I lived in a district inhabited by many migrants from Karelia because of the war. I listened to the challenging experiences of these people. Even then, I was feeling deep in my heart the despair of them who had had to leave their homes and settle in new conditions with strangers. The reception was not always the best either.

These are heavy memories that are passed down from generation to generation. I have written several books, e.g., “Lullaby of the Valley” and “Raspberry Red,” that talk about the consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives. For some of us, they are history – for others, life today. I hope that my books will encourage and bring comfort to these situations as well.

What inspired you to become a children’s book writer?

After working as a lawyer and senior business executive in the heavy industry for some twenty years, I became a mother of a third child. That was a moment of significant change in my life. I decided to focus on two completely different types of writing; I continued my studies to become a Ph. D. in Law, and I started as a children’s author. Some may think this is a strange combination, but it’s a very natural one for me. Now, I can put all my experience and knowledge about life and society together and work for the good of children.

I think I have the soul of a storyteller. I like to make observations and try to understand the life around me. The next step has been to tie all that together into stories that will delight, encourage, and help others as well. I have been telling stories all my life. I have also listened to my grandparents’ stories and read through most of the books of my childhood libraries, shelf by shelf.

At first, I told fairy tales to my little sisters with whom I shared the bedroom. For years, I told them a new fairy tale every night after turning off the lamp. I also wrote small stories, poems, and plays for my school and sometimes sent my texts to a local newspaper.

Later, my children were a keen audience for my stories, but as they grew up, I started telling stories to the world’s children. Now, I can combine all my experience and knowledge about people and society for the good of children and work in my own publishing house to make a difference. I try to influence the world around me and cooperate with a broad international network of professionals in children’s literature.

I love the possibility to work independently and globally – and try to build understanding, acceptance, and respect on every level. That’s my mission as a writer and publisher.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Nanu the polar bear cub is worried. His ice slide is shrinking day by day. Mom and Grandma are worried about their home glacier–it’s melting too. And Father Bear has been gone for days on a hunting trip.
Driven by the melting ice floes, Mom and Nanu set out on a journey to find a new home. A friendly tern accompanies them as their pathfinder. But the journey is long and tiring, and ice is melting all around them. Will the polar bear family ever be reunited?

The Toxic Consequences

Author Interview
Aaron T Knight Author Interview

Dr. O and the Eco-X follows a doctor who invents a way to eliminate plastic and pollution, but the innovation has unexpected consequences. What inspired the idea at the heart of this story?

Some time ago I was shocked to learn about the massive size of plastic waste afloat off the Southern California coast. What hit me was the reference to the plastic mess as being larger than the state of Texas! Then I saw some graphic photos of the ugly mess floating out there and the toxic consequences to marine life. How long will are “fearless leaders” be able to ignore a major problem like this? Perhaps when the first surge of the plastic waste drifts up Hollywood Boulevard?

This seemed like a fun book to write. What scene did you have the most fun writing?

It was fun to do a satire on a scientist, one more time. deciding he could outwit Nature and get away with it. They never learn. Eco-X creatures were fun to portray along with the consequences of ego saving actions, disavowing any involvement and of course a rush to make money off the glaring publicity. It was fun.

What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this novel?

The numerous reactions of people to the crisis from pointing fingers at others to proclaiming innocence, and how money always carries the day.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have a finished manuscript staring at me every day but I have to feel right about the story before releasing it. This one is another satire/humor novel but the feeling I get when I know it floats hasn’t happened yet. Thanks for your interest.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Nature has its own rigid rules beyond the power of anyone to modify it without unexpected results. Here are a few examples of disastrous results for what seemed to be brilliant ideas at the time. Apparently Nature’s laws were ignored and without testing these things were recklessly launched. KUDZU is an African vine introduced into the South to combat soil erosion. This plant is aggressive and only has one purpose take over all of the forest space possible. Looking at a forest invaded by the Green Menace you can almost see it growing over trees.
KILLER BEES are an African species introduced because of its ability to produce more honey in a short time. Unfortunately it is agressive and will take over any area. Domestic bees aren’t bred to be fighters and are defenseless against these marauders. ORIENTAL LEAPING FISH were certainly a surprise when they began to appear in fresh water lakes. This little gem leaps out of the water as it swims, and eats water plant life voraciously. Another froriegn invader threatening to wipe out many species of domestic fish since they leave nothing to eat for other species. Swell.
Dr.O had great respect for the powers of nature and altering things in its domain was a perilous path. He vowed never to venture there.Dr. O spent 20 years using embryos to design a unigue creature whose diet consisted of the oil carbons in plastic. Any plastic. As genetist and DNA expert he created the perfect creature to rid the planet of the plastic mess.
Growing them out of embryos there was absolute control of the population since they didn’t reproduce. Success brought on unexpected problems as the world demand mounted and his embryo process was too slow to meet the demand.
Greedy pigs became part of the operation and they pressured Dr. O into making them capable of reproducing. No. no, no he protested—- But perhaps if he was very careful he could keep Nature’s laws out of his creation. No need to tell you there was hell to pay. Follow the wild adventures of the reproductive ECO-X and the humorous incidents they caused. Call them the Wild Bunch.
Demo at initial conference:
As we all know plastic is not bio degradable, but by removing their oil carbon atoms, the rest of the plastic components return to their natural state. He had to stop talking because the crowd erupted into hundreds of excited conversations. Joe stepped aside for Dr. O. so he could continue on with the lecture when the audience calmed down. They moved on to the actual field demonstration of the plastic eating animal A large round container was wheeled to the center of the auditorium filled with plastic scraps. The lab assistants opened the metal box and brought out one hundred Eco-X. They didn’t have to be coaxed to eat plastic They dove head first into the plastic and bored holes with their corkscrew snouts. Soon there was a low hum emenating from the container similar to the sound of sawing wood. They watched the level of plastic parts sinking faster and faster as the Eco-X creatures swung into eating their native sustenance. Within fifteen minutes all of the plastic was consumed. There were audible burping sounds coming from the container. At the bottom of the tank the Eco-X chirped loudly apparently a happy noise for a great meal. It sounded like the chirping of small birds, wrens, warblers etc. in springtime. Around them a vapor cloud formed and floated upward over the amphitheater. It rained inside the auditorium until the cloud was gone. It was all too weird for most of the guests who rushed for the exit doors in a panic. They were soaking wet and wondering if these glutinous little beasts might still be hungry.

The Change Agents

Legal reporter Eliza is stunned when she finds a bug and two spiders talking to her and asking for her help with a cause. The puzzled and yet intrigued Eliza at the Mausoleum door follows the creatures through the crypt to NoHoSap, a safe place for living animals, away from humans and their exploration. As the surprises and shocks unfold for Eliza in NoHoSap, she learns of her role in a great cause – climate change. Will the Change Agents of NoHoSap be able to influence the world with the help of their human friends? Or penetrate the skeptical human conscience indifferent to the world’s real issues prowling the Earth?

In this unique urban fantasy novel, author Sarah E. Lewis honors her canine Bebop and inspires people to save the Earth from climate change. Bebop plays a significant role in the story as he is not only Eliza’s faithful companion but also a guide for NoHoSap, a change agent dedicated to making the Earth a flourishing home for all creatures. This intriguing story also satirizes the whole human race using several discourses and interactions among animal species. The story features a scene where animals protect and help rescue humans in a flood. It comes off as a silent mockery upon humans encroaching on animals’ natural habitat.

The Change Agents presents a critical topic wrapped in fantasy fiction, in which animals have taken over the role of humans. Readers will appreciate the comical representation of technology-driven animals in the story, such as BG (Billy Goat) rapping and mixing crazy tracks amid the dancing animals. Having the animal participate in such a serious social issue as climate change adds fun and makes the book ideal for older elementary children. The chapters were reasonable lengths and easy to break out for discussion topics.

The author wisely enlists the state of every habitat due to weather fluctuations by including the species that live there in The Alliance members of NoHoSap, who help explain to readers the ravaging change in the ecosystem. With subtle satire, the book invites readers to become Change Agents by adopting lifestyles that improve nature.

The Change Agents is a valuable book for parents and educators to teach children a valuable lesson on climate change while entertaining them with amusing creatures.

Pages: 380 | ASIN : B09LJX3MT7

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The Sumatran Trilogy

Emma Sandford
Emma Sandford Author Interview

The Problem with Poppy is about a porcupine that has trouble making friends and overcomes that fear. What was the inspiration for your story?

Like Poppy, I have been defensive where I didn’t need to be out of fear as I had experienced trauma which made it difficult for me to trust people and make friends. I wanted to write a book that drew on my own personal experiences but in a child appropriate way to show children that if they too have an issue with making friends, they need to overcome a fear and trauma or are defensive, they are able to overcome this. Everybody has a natural defence system, it’s a survival skill, but there is a time and a place to use it and as Poppy learns in the story, being defensive when she doesn’t need to be can have upsetting consequences. However, Poppy makes the brave step to address the issue and makes a lifelong friend in the process. I think people can relate to Poppy and learn that being brave and addressing your issues can make your life so much better and happier.

What inspired you to write a series about the rainforest?

The rainforest is so important as it enables so many different species of animals to live there. Sadly, with deforestation and poaching occuring around the world, I wanted to write a book which teaches children the importance of protecting these animals and the rainforest as well as educating them about how to deal with their own issues. I also wanted to help protect the animals and rainforests in any way I could and as a result of book sales from The Problem with Poppy and the next two books in the Sumatran Trilogy I donate £1 per book sale to Rainforest Trust UK which is then used to save the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, where the book is set. The Leuser Ecosystem is the last place on earth where tigers, porcupines, orangutans and elephants co-exist in the wild so I wanted to educate children on this amazing part of the world and what we can all do to preserve it.

How did collaboration go between you and the illustrator for the book?

My illustrator, Olena Osadcha, is based in Ukraine. It has been a pleasure working with her for this book. Olena is also illustrating the next two books in the Sumatran Trilogy, What’s Troubling Tawny? and Hooray for Heidi! Olena shares the same passion that I do in relation to the story and feels that the book has some important messages for children. Olena and I have worked very closely in getting the illustrations as perfect as possible to make them fun, cute and captivating for the reader.

I see there are two more books in the series set for publication, are they going to build on The Problem with Poppy or are they their own stories?

The next two books in the Sumatran Trilogy have some similarities to The Problem with Poppy but also some differences. They will both be set in the Sumatran rainforest but they will introduce new characters into each story while at the same time the characters from the previous book making cameo appearances! The next two books will, again, touch on important messages for children such as self confidence, self esteem, self worth, working as a team, trying your best, taking part in activities, along with reinforcing the importance of saving the rainforest and the animals that inhabit them.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website | theproblemwithpoppy.co.uk

WINNER: Maincrest Media Award 2021 for Picture Books

Poppy the porcupine has always wanted to make a friend, but her defensive nature prevents her. When a young tiger cub stumbles upon her one day in the rainforest, she reacts badly and scares him away.

Determined to change her ways, she sets out to find him, but little does she know that the tiger cub is about to have a problem of his own. In the face of danger, will Poppy find a way to save the day?

The Problem with Poppy
 is an award-winning picture book aimed at children aged 4-8 and is the debut by British author Emma Sandford. Illustrated by Ukrainian artist Olena Osadcha.

“The Problem with Poppy by Emma Sandford is a perfect combination of fun and learning that any little kid will love.” – Readers’ Favorite ★★★★★

The book is the first in a series called The Sumatran Trilogy. The second book, What’s Troubling Tawny?, will be published in December 2021 and the third book, Hooray for Heidi!, will be published in June 2022.

£1 per paperback book sale donated to Rainforest Trust UK.

Treasury of Feel-Good Stories

Karina McRoberts
Karina McRoberts Author Interview

Dargo: Eco Hero follows a lonely young man as he rises from despair in his going-nowhere-fast job to his new position as hero for the environment. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This came from many sources. Part from a dream (the character’s first name and the bone thing). Part from my childhood adoration of my older brother. Part from a recent visit to Northern California, where I was shocked by mile after mile of freeway with memorials to fallen highway patrol officers, many with Hispanic names (hence Fernandez). Part from my own experience of being bullied in the workplace. Part from my ongoing love affair with music. Part from my life-long love of nature. Part by the First Nations American elder who saved his people from annihilation due to his translatory skills and eloquence of speech. Part from the ordinary cold-war Russian soldier who did NOT hit the red button to signal incoming nuclear attack (otherwise, we would not be having this conversation, I suspect). All this reminded me of what just one person can do, even though they may feel at the end of their tether.

Dargo is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

There are plenty of people who don’t fit into everyday society. So many have suffered as a result, and of course still do. I wanted to say that no matter how hard things get, be exactly who you are.

And please BE. Don’t give up. Things will turn around. Hang in there. There may be 7.5 billion people and counting in this world, and the pressure to conform to the idealised ‘thing’ is greater than ever, but we need YOU! As Samara Jones learns in The Girl with Ten Diamonds, my companion novella to Dargo, “You can’t clone a soul”.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

This disconnect between humanity and nature, and how that problem might be addressed. Because it absolutely must be! You can’t save it if you don’t love it, and you can’t love it if you don’t know it.

Also, personal redemption. So very, very important in this increasingly crowded and competitive world. I wonder how many fell through the cracks-of-no-return just today…

So, as Dargo discovers, he begins by lifting spirits, and that includes his own.

I really hope this book lifts readers’ spirits in these very tough times we find ourselves in. Especially important for those trying to save the Earth. It’s a tough gig, and I hope Dargo can provide a little solidarity and joy.

Find nature and you will find yourself — worked for me!

Thanks for reading.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Kahnilla the Dragon. She will be the 6th instalment in this Treasury of Feel-Good Stories. This series follows the style of Dargo – examination of serious, topical issues through humorous story-telling.

The series has stories for all ages. Kahnilla is another adult fairy-tale. It deals with hate and its cost, and how young people and others learn to hate by following wrong information. The story focusses on the importance of true listening, thinking for oneself, and getting one’s facts from reliable sources. We really need to, more than ever!

Kahnilla is in production now, and will hopefully be out early next year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

HILARIOUS, HEART-WARMING, DIFFERENT and DELIGHTFUL!
A lonely young man suffers a massive defeat. When all is lost, he meets a fiery fortune-teller who pleads with him to save her.
Can he re-invent himself as a hero?
A light-hearted but poignant little story, Dargo is humorous and heart-warming; a fairy-tale for adults.
You can also read this to your children who care about Earth. And, if they don’t, Dargo will help them to do so!
An enjoyable timely tale that will appeal to the magic in all of us.
Illustrations
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