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Pure Escapism

Wallace E Briggs
Wallace E. Briggs Author Interview

The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey is a genre-crossing novel with elements of fantasy, science fiction, and adventure as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

In reality, the story came about out of necessity – to entertain three or four children in the approximate age range 4 – 7 yrs. They had struck up a friendship with my son on the beach, on a family holiday to Great Yarmouth, over (almost) 50 years ago. The children were forced to shelter in our beach tent during a heavy shower. Not surprisingly they were quite boisterous. “For goodness sake,” my wife, Pat, said. “Do something to quieten them down. Read them a story, or something.

As there were no story books to hand, I had to make up a story, “on the hoof”, as they say. I knew I needed a bit of magic to get their attention, so I created a witch. Observation of the small “playgroup” dynamics highlighted that there was an underdog in their group, it just happened that his hair was ginger.

Jimmy is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

The idea blossomed, of a bullied child, who looked different, in spite of which he overcame – and so Jimmy Crikey was borne to illustrate that it is possible to overcome apparent disadvantages and achieve great things. Otherwise, the adventures that Jimmy embarked upon were designed as pure escapism to keep their minds engaged for a while during the following several wet afternoons.

The story was not committed to the written word until many years later.

Jimmy has to overcome many obstacles throughout the story. What were some themes that guided the development of the novel?

The main theme I tried to get across is that with perseverance all problems can be overcome and that being different does not define the person you are.

Furthermore outright violence is rarely necessary to achieve a peaceable outcome to a dispute.

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

Another Jimmy Crikey story is well underway. It will involve enlisting the help of st least one or two of the four witches, to assist the inhabitants of the islands in the sky. I would hope it might be completed before end of 2020 but the promotion required to bring The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey to market is extremely time consuming and in the meanwhile I am the primary carer of my disabled wife/friend/companion and loved one – Pat.

And I’m also attempting to complete other stories in my portfolio, including a memoir.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Do you want to know a secret?

Beneath the very ground on which you walk and beyond the stars above your head, are more worlds than you could ever dream of. There are monsters. Be afraid. Magic, wielded by witches and sorcerers. Epic adventures in worlds far across the ocean. And fearsome weapons which threaten to destroy everything.

Jimmy Crikey is a brave soul who faces some pretty scary challenges. Solving mysteries and averting mayhem, his incredible courage allows him to free up his abilities to shine and rise above every challenge in his path, on his way to discovering why he looks so very strange.

With a bright red mop of unruly hair, big blue eyes, a small snub nose, pointed ears and enormous feet, poor Jimmy is ridiculed by the neighbourhood children and runs away in search of a world where he fits in. Following a midnight flight through the forest, he stumbles into a lost, underground world called Roombelow and magic, adventure, danger and excitement await.

From the little lady who lives at the bottom of a well, a starship that wants to take him home, trolls, little people, traders and diamonite stealers to water sprites, witches, helpful dolphins, and interplanetary warfare, Jimmy learns the biggest lessons of his life.

The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey

Jimmy McGellan is known as Jimmy Crikey, a name he loathes and only serves to remind him of the bullying he has endured from children in his school. His aunt is raising him and caring for him the best way she knows how, but Jimmy needs a change–he wants to be rid of the hurt and begin again somewhere far from this place that doesn’t ever really feel like home. He has no way of knowing exactly how much his young life will change when he chooses to venture away from his aunt and out on his own. A new world awaits him–a world he could never have imagined.

The Amazing Adventures of Jimmy Crikey: Worlds Beneath And Above The Stars, by Wallace E. Briggs, is a fantasy/science fiction adventure based on the main character Jimmy Crikey. Young Jimmy is relatable, lovable, and heroic. As his journey begins, he is clearly bullied, singled out for some glaring physical differences, and belittled to the point of despair. Young readers will find themselves identifying with his struggle and rooting for him from the very first chapter.

Briggs has created a beautiful world that meshes fantasy and science fiction for young readers. When Jimmy finds himself meeting one fantastic being after the other in Roombelow, readers will get an Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-The-Wizard-of-Oz feeling. However, Briggs’s work is original and departs from both story lines enough to make it into its own category. As the story began, I wasn’t taken with the science fiction aspect of Jimmy’s tale, but it grew on me, and soon I was engrossed in his mission and the plight of the unique characters.

Briggs’s lengthy list of secondary characters can at some points grow a little confusing, but many of them stand out in their own right. Gemma, for one, is a well-drawn character who provides important plot points and is just the right fit for a boy like Jimmy coming from a world of pain above. I was impressed with the vast array of characters and the unique traits given each.

Two notable elements of Briggs’s story deal with the obvious departure from violence and the rise of an otherwise weak character. As a teacher and mother of teens, I found it refreshing that characters in a book meant for school-age readers took a pointed turn from violence. The book does have some later scenes in which pain is inflicted, but the author is careful at the outset of the story to veer away from violent acts between groups of beings.

I found the heroism and the building up of a character’s self-esteem to be a refreshing and much-needed read right now. Young readers who look for science fiction elements in their chapter books will appreciate Jimmy’s discovery about himself and will find themselves lost in his world. I highly recommend Briggs’s work to any teacher looking for a long-lasting read aloud for students from ages 9 to 11.

Pages: 302 | ASIN: B08B34V4TN

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