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To Navigate Life

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Paul Richardson Author Interview

Run Taylah Run follows a runner who must use her skills and tenacity to rescue her team from disaster while avoiding danger herself. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?

After many years working in schools and officiating at athletics meets, I had the background to engage the characters in the competitive sections of the story. The story takes place in Queensland, Australia, and the vehicle accident takes place on the Atherton Tablelands of North Queensland which is a “local area” for me. By keeping the content and context local I believed I could add authenticity to the story.

Taylah is an inspirational and invigorating character. What were some ideas that were important to personify in her character?

The key attribute I wanted Taylah to show was humility. Individuals are good at different things and excelling in a field of endeavour should not take away the level approach one needs to navigate life. Because Taylah is the “best” does not distract from her ability to see good in, and encourage, others. With determination comes achievement. With achievement comes confidence. It is that confidence that guides Taylah in all she experiences in the story.

I enjoyed the authenticity of the story. What experience do you have with school sports?

As noted above, I have worked in schools for many years and officiated at many athletics meets. I have seen the high and the lows of students’ participation in interschool sports.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

I hope readers will gain an insight into the everyday world of a group of high school students and a chance to relate to the characters. I also hope readers will gain a sense of perseverance when face with adversity whether you are young or old.

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The school relay team had won the right to compete in the regional trials in Atherton. Success there led to the team being invited to represent Far North Queensland at the State Championships in Brisbane. However, the celebrations were short lived when, on the trip back to Cairns, the team bus came to grief after a close encounter with a cow on a remote dirt Tablelands backroad. With people injured and no immediate help available, Taylah Bingham, the school’s best athlete, runs for help. Not far from the accident site, she finds a house. But its occupant is not the type to provide the kind of help she seeks. He too is a runner. With Taylah at the mercy of an escaped prisoner, she finds herself in situations that leaves her future uncertain. However, because of her resolve, tenacity, goodwill, and ability to run, Taylah manages to find her way to safety. She also manages to find justice for the one who imposed on her. Despite the ordeal and the unexpected events that confront her, Taylah is still needed to anchor the regional relay team in Brisbane and is expected to perform at the highest level. Nothing is simple for Taylah, but her talent, and the people around her always manage to see her through.

An Interesting Contrast

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Paul Richardson Author Interview

Fetch follows a toy that acquires artificial intelligence and goes on a journey where he learns of loyalty, laughter, and love. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I was inspired by my grandchildren’s interest in gaming and the characters and stories these games engaged them with. I thought the concept of developing a real-life toy which could enter a game and communicate with children was a unique and interesting perspective to take.

The characters in your book are interesting and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wanted children and young adults to feel like they could get to know the characters and therefore support and engage with them.

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

I looked at the issue of sibling rivalry. On one hand, Victor and Victoria Nerdie were competitive because they strived for personal dominance over each other, beyond the material world they had grown up in. On the other hand, Sam and Samantha Perret, whose worlds had been handed many tough calls, were not competitive. It paints an interesting contrast between the privileged and non-privileged of society.

Also, the theme of Artificial Intelligence is one that children of today will live with in its many potential forms. The humanisation of Fetch is a likelihood which children who read the story will inevitably face.

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

I am working on an adult fiction story to complete my trilogy of adventure stories set in Papua New Guinea. I am also at the editing stage of a joint project with co -author Dion Mayne. The book is the historical fiction novel, Masquerade Gold, and is the companion novel to Boomerang Gold.

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Each year In Venture Industries promoted a unique Christmas toy. Since graduating from university, Victor Nerdie, and sister Victoria, had submitted a creation, each believing, theirs would be the chosen toy. With Victor being the successor on all previous occasions, Victoria believed, finally, this year, she had created a winner with the realistic fox terrier she called Fetch. She was unaware the President of IVI, Victor and Victoria’s grandfather, had already agreed a third-party product would be that year’s annual Christmas toy. Disappointed her technologically advanced offering had been outbid Victoria threw the toy away and quit the company. However, she did not realise her brother had tampered with Fetch before she had disposed of it. Victor stayed on and helped produce a computer game that promoted a new product called Puzzle Flakes. With a prize of one million dollars attached, the game was a hit around the world. Unbeknown to the Nerdies, the discarded Fetch had found a new home with ten-year-old Sam and Samantha Perrett. No longer a simple chase and retrieve toy, Fetch’s acquired artificial intelligence led to adventures in both the real and the virtual world. Fetch’s desire to please took the toy on a physics-defying mission into the heart and soul of the Puzzle Land computer game. Despite being a machine Fetch learns about loyalty and laughter and, over time, it learned about the power of love.

Everyone Has a Story to Share

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Paul Richardson Author Interview

The Red Sheep does a fantastic job of showcasing the lives of ordinary people. Why was this an important aspect of this novel for you?

Everyone has a story to share. Everyday stories are stories everyday people can relate to. By sharing the lives of the “ordinary”, I planned to connect with ordinary people and help them to become part of the story.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

Allowing Jessica to be Jessica as a young child, a teenager and an adult was a challenge. It was important to portray Jessica as a young child in a way relevant to an adult reader, as well as adopt traits common to her other phases of life without losing who she was. While she interacts with her grandparents in a typically childish way, I intended those interactions to be insightful to readers of all ages. Her interactions as a teenager and then, as an adult are more relatable to the reader.

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

I wanted to explore the concept of family in contemporary society and how the complexities of a person’s past do not always relate to their present.

I also wanted to explore the concept of aging and death and the theological beliefs that surround it. As well I wanted to explore this concept through the eyes of a child. Most of us deal with death and loss as adults. The simplicity of childhood can bring out an even more complex set of emotions around such an event.

The other theme was that of relationships: the bond between mother and daughter; the support between husband and wife; the connection between partners in their later stages of life.

Do you have future plans to write books in other genres?

I have several projects underway which involve historical adventure fiction, young adult adventure and middle grade fiction.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Red Sheep is a story about Jessica Grant and the challenges faced by families as they deal with aging, mortality, religion, and relationships. Jessica, an only child, was immersed in a stable and supportive family but it did not hide the fact she was different. As such, she saw the world differently. As a child she questioned her being. As a teenager she set her mother in search of answers. As an adult she learned to accept life was what she made of it. Jessica’s journey was filled with childhood joy at having special grandparents. When Nan and Pop passed away, it was her youthful logic that helped her cope with their loss. With Nan and Pop’s opposing views of an afterlife deeply embedded in her outlook, Jessica explored her background with conviction. The answers she found highlighted how unique she was. The story will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you question the world around you. It will cause you to marvel at the extraordinary lives led by everyday ordinary people.

The Red Sheep

The Red Sheep is a beautiful story of love, belonging, and found family. Jessica knows she is different, her flaming hair and freckles. No one else in her family has these traits but she shares a lot of traits with her beloved Pop. Pop and Nan are wise, lovely grandparents but they will not be around forever. Jessica has many questions to answer and many secrets to uncover, but they may not be easy to swallow and some may come with a cost. Nonetheless, Jessica is determined to find answers and is willing to spend her whole life searching.

The Red Sheep does a great job of humanizing and bringing to life it characters. One of the most enjoyable aspects about the cast of characters was their breathtaking diversity and inclusivity. It is so refreshing to have a deep, engaging story with characters that are diverse but not tokens. The Red Sheep includes characters of many faiths, races, and even includes neuro-divergent and LGBTQIA+ characters. The book emphasizes acceptance and love of all people which is part of what makes it so touching. Acceptance and unconditional love seem to be some of the main messages of the book and it clearly shows. These messages raise great questions and really make the reader think about what it means to be family, believe in others, or stand up for what is right.

The Red Sheep is wonderfully written and engaging. It is intriguing right from the beginning and twists the readers emotions completely into knots. Despite the book not containing a lot of action, it is still gripping because of the inherent drama. Richardson writes The Red Sheep with love and care, going right for the reader’s heart, capturing it and keeping it close. Jessica and her family’s story move the heart and soul deeply. Similarly, the dialogue is free flowing and natural. Particularly the easygoing banter and teasing that Pop and Nan engage in.

This story was an inspiring and poignant read that is sure to touch the hearts and minds of many readers. The lyrical reading combined with the vivid and inclusive characterization make this novel a delight to read. It brings laughter and perhaps some tears simultaneously, making this a remarkable literary journey.

Pages: 329 | ASIN: B08LN11JGC

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Run Taylah Run!

Run Taylah Run is a heartwarming and adventurous tale. Taylah is a young Aboriginal living with her mother and sister, trying her best to help her mother and her school’s track team. Taylah is very talented and her team is about to get a big break, but a series of terrifying events may prevent her team from reaching its full potential. Meanwhile, Liam is trying to live a somewhat normal life after his father has been sent to prison, but soon his father escapes and kidnaps him, making wild claims about his conviction. In order to help her friends and Liam, Taylah will have to think fast and run like she never has before.

This narrative has wonderful elements of both a thriller and a sports action novel. The mystery of Liam’s family and father offer a sense of danger and urgency. The startling accident that crashes the team’s bus also adds to the thrill and excitement of the book. It is sure to leave readers’ hearts pounding and keep the pages turning. What is really unique about the atmosphere and tone of this novel is the addition of the inspiring and blood-pumping sports action. The unusual combination of these elements is both joyous and satisfying at the same time.

This book was structured and the characters were discussed in such a way that makes the novel highly relatable and relevant to the modern day. The different perspectives make it so fascinating to read. Getting different perspectives throughout the book really makes it more personal to each character and the reader. The characters too are unique, distinct, and inclusive. The book does a wonderful job of being inclusive and respectful towards minorities and all groups. The author shows the challenges that racial and ethnic minorities can face and how they can really hurt those affected. It is a story that is relevant today and speaks volumes on realistic issues that even students of minority groups may face.

Run Taylah Run is a wonderfully inspiring sports fiction novel that introduces readers to authentic and relatable characters and sets events in motion that will test them and entertain readers. I highly recommend this novel for young adult readers especially those who can identify with a spirit of sport and adventure that is imbued in this story.

Pages: 204 | ISBN: 1716375231

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Fetch

Victor and Victoria, highly competitive brother and sister, are accustomed to having their grandfather’s attention and are quite used to having their pitches heard at Christmas. Their inventions are always looked upon with wonder, and they know each year their grandfather will consider each of them as contenders for the annual featured Christmas toy. They are both ready this year–Victor with Billy and Victoria with Fetch. Victoria is sure she will win this year. She just knows that Fetch will easily win over her brother’s robot. What the two don’t know is that there is someone else in the picture–someone who could cost them everything.

Fetch, by Paul Richardson, is the tale of two twenty-somethings competing for top honors in their family’s company. All either of them wants is to be recognized and not be ousted by the guest inventor invading their space. The idea of having someone outdo them or take their coveted place as future head of the company is causing them both anxiety and nightmares. Their battle to maintain their place is not the only storyline in Richardson’s work. When Fetch is discovered in a recycling bin, things change for everyone.

Written with young adults in mind, Fetch pulls at the heartstrings. Des Perret’s storyline will grab readers and pull them in instantly. His desire to provide for his family and the struggle he must endure to earn a living will resonate even with young adult readers. I love that Richardson is tapping into feelings of empathy and showing readers of this genre what it is like for adults to work hard to overcome obstacles and financial woes. Des wants to be a good father and wants to make his children happy–this is a beautiful lesson for young readers.

Richardson’s work is unique and features a focus on technology that will undoubtedly appeal to young adult readers. Amazingly Fetch’s artificial intelligence becomes increasingly sentient and almost frighteningly real. Readers will enjoy watching Fetch grow from a concept in Victoria’s mind to a main character in the plot.

I would definitely recommend Richardson’s book to any young adult reader interested and versed in technology. Fetch’s plot twists make the book a fun and is perfect for anyone looking for a lite and science fiction book.

Pages: 288 | ISBN: 171637927X

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