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In The Face Of Real Adversity

Author Interview
Bird Jones Author Interview

Hold Fast: A Boy’s Life Aloft follows a 13-year-old boy and his cousin who are kidnapped by the British Navy and forced into service on their ship. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The book is based on a paragraph found in a 1887 family history. The excerpt describes a mysterious occurrence in which two boys were pressed into service in the British Navy and ultimately what happens to them.

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

Our book includes themes of mercy versus revenge. Some characters must choose the person they’re going to be by showing tenacity in the face of real adversity.

What kind of research did you do for this novel to ensure you captured the essence of the story’s theme?

The research for the book relied heavily on primary sources like maps, logbooks, diaries, letters, etc. The research never really stops and around every corner is a new discovery that enhances the narrative.

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

Our next book is actually out already! Blue-Eyed Slave came out in February of 2022 from Koehler books (here’s the link: It’s another historical narrative based on a little-known story about an extraordinary teacher.

We’re about to start our third book, this one set in the prairie of Nebraska in the 19th century.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

It is 1761 off the coast of Italy, and 13-year-old Joseph Carlos and his cousin have just been kidnapped by the British Navy and impressed into service on the Deptford, a British man-of-war. Just the day before the two boys were happily sailing with their uncle on a routine merchant passage, dreaming of owning their own ship one day and returning home to the warmth and safety of their family.

What was supposed to be a “punishment” for a childish misadventure turns into a fight for survival on foreign seas. The boys have to rely on each other as they struggle with a new world of unfathomable rules and codes, near-death floggings, lethal storms, and intrigue. Their endurance depends not only on their own bravery and stamina but on how fast they can learn English. For the next two years the ship becomes their prison, their classroom, and their home. Eventually, Joseph Carlos has to make a choice that shapes what kind of person he becomes.

Hold Fast is a young adult, historical novel in the vein of Kidnapped. Based on a true story, it combines brutal storytelling and a poignant sense of humor while tracing the route of the Deptford across the Atlantic Ocean. This book follows the lives of two Italian boys, but it also tells the story of Harrison, the Sea Watch, and the discovery of longitude.
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