A Letter from a Gorilla explains the man-made dangers that gorillas face and tells readers, in a cute rhyming story, what can be done about it. Why was this an important story for you to tell?
Gorillas are the closest living relatives to humans after chimpanzees and bonobos and are among the most endangered apes in the world. Both the Eastern and Western Gorillas are critically endangered, despite having a population as high as 200,000 individuals. Human activities cause the main threats to their survival, such as poaching, habitat destruction, and disease. By educating future generations, we can help ensure the survival of these gentle creatures that are so similar to us.
What is one simple thing that people can do that will help gorillas?
Donating to conservation organizations that protect mountain gorillas is probably the most effective way to help the species. Even if we cannot help financially, we can all become more mindful of our impact on the environment and adjust our habits.
If someone wanted to take action and help gorillas in a big way, what should they do?
Some people, such as Dian Fossey, have dedicated their lives to the welfare of gorillas and paid the ultimate price. However, we can all make our voices heard to lawmakers and government officials to support conservation efforts.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
We can all make a difference in the survival of gorillas and other endangered species by educating ourselves and our children and by taking positive action to protect the environment.
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This creative children’s rhyming book explains the perils that gorillas face in the wild. The narration is provided through a letter written by Silverback Jeremy, a mountain gorilla that pens a letter to humans in hopes of educating them on all the man-made challenges that gorillas face.
A Letter from a Gorilla, while cute, tells a very serious story. This story explains, in very simple terms, how gorillas face extinction and shows the different ways that man is endangering them. What I really liked about this story was that it went beyond stating the ways that their species are at peril and provides different ways for people to change and take action to protect these majestic creatures that, as we learn through the story, are much like us.
The beautiful illustrations really drive the points home with some vivid, dramatic, and well-drawn imagery. The language is easy for children to understand, but I think the book should be read with adults as this book provides plenty to talk about afterwards. This picture book provides readers with a sad but very important story that is perfect for teachers to add to their curriculum about primates, endangered animals, and how our actions affect nature.
Pages: 32 | ISBN: 1916184855
Veterans of the Psychic Wars follows a normal guy with an unknown past who must face danger in uncharted space to rescue his wife and end the Second Psychic War. How did the idea for this novel start and change as you wrote?
It began with a conversation I had with my mother many years ago. We discussed the state of the world, and I mentioned feeling as if I didn’t belong. I said that I felt as if I was an alien. And, without skipping a beat, my mother replied, “You are an alien.”
We laughed but, long after the conversation, I considered the implications of such a thing being true. I imagined a scenario where a young man grew up not realising who he was. Writing the story, I had to consider what would drive someone to leave everything they knew behind to face untold dangers.
As the characters developed, they began to dictate the story more and more. There have been times when events completely surprised me; this is especially true of a few deaths.
What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
Writing isn’t always easy. On my best day, I wrote 4,000 words. For me, that’s a lot. I wanted realism in the characters and authentic world-building. I studied history, and it remains a deep interest of mine. As such, the novel makes references to a great deal of historical information. There are names, words, and phrases from over 24 languages, including Swahili, Japanese, Armenian, Sanskrit and Ancient Egyptian.
The real challenge was to write a book that is enjoyable on different levels. Some of the contents are esoteric. I have an interest in philosophy, and there are also themes regarding the nature of reality. There are also ethical questions. It’s an epic story, designed to be read more than once.
This is a very exciting story that seems like it was fun to write. What scene was the most fun for you to write in this book?
It’s somewhat difficult to choose. However, one scene that never fails to make me laugh out loud is Chapter 75. I approached this chapter intending to write dark, morbid prose. However, it quickly developed into a classic and humorous illustration of pride coming before a fall.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available? Are you starting a series with this book?
I am currently writing Architects of the Psychic Wars, the sequel to Veterans of the Psychic Wars. This novel will also feature cameos of characters from Kaya Abaniah and the Father of the Forest, set in the same universe.
Four years each was the average time for me to write my first two science fiction novels because of the amount of scientific, cultural, and historical research I draw from for each work. It’s not an easy process, and it’s difficult to say how long the current book will take to complete. I plan to write three books in the Psychic Wars series and three in the Kaya Abaniah series.
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Song of the Blue Whale is an educational picture book that teaches readers about whaling and ocean pollution. Why is this an important topic for you?
The blue whale is the largest animal on Earth. This magnificent, gentle giant is an endangered species due to the ill effects of avoidable human behaviour. There may come a time when these beautiful creatures will only exist in photographs, video footage or on the pages of books. If properly educated, informed future generations can avert such a tragedy.
I loved the art in this book, especially the pictures of whales under the ocean. What is your favorite picture from the book?
In this volume, I included cameos of two characters from other books in the series. We see Mattie Boombalatty picking up rubbish from a beach with her mother. However, my favourite illustration features Shelly, the leatherback sea turtle with a purple heart painted on her shell. The double-page spread shows the beauty of a tropical coral reef spoiled by discarded tin cans, surgical masks, nets, plastic straws and bags. Shelly is coming to the aid of a companion trapped in a plastic bag. As well as colourful seahorses and tropical fish, we see two curious dolphins. It’s a powerful image that forces older children to think about how we deal with rubbish and how it may affect other animals.
What is a simple step someone could take to help reduce ocean pollution?
Using less expendable plastic and recycling as much of the plastics we do use can dramatically reduce pollution in rivers, lakes, oceans and seas.
Do you plan to write more books on these same topics?
There is a total of seven books in my series of illustrated children’s books. These appear in an anthology titled Wayne Gerard Trotman’s Rhyming Stories, introduced by the poet and novelist Dr. Benjamin Zephaniah. I also co-wrote Believe in Fairies with my wife, Sherrie. Several species of wildflowers have disappeared from the English countryside. This rhyming fairy tale introduces children and their parents to the various types that still exist and encourages them to plant wildflower gardens.
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Song of the Blue Whale is a beautifully illustrated children’s book that educates readers on whales, whale hunters, ocean pollution, and what we can do to help whales and clean up our water.
This educational picture book surprised me with how many opportunities for learning were packed into so few pages. We’re first introduced to a whale with a barnacle on its tail. A cute image accompanied by a short rhyme. But readers are then taken on a trip through the ocean where we learn about the dangers whales face against hunters. With a few short simple rhymes readers are also educated on ocean pollution and provided some simple steps we can all take to help clean up. I can imagine this book being a great piece for teachers to include in their curriculum about marine biology and oceanography. The book is filled with beautiful art pieces of whales in the ocean. Some of my favorite art pieces from this book are from the bottom of the ocean looking up at whales as sunlight comes through the clouds and water. Contrast this with the dramatic scene where whalers are hunting and you really do get to experience the full range and beauty of a whale’s life in this book.
Song of the Blue Whale is a picture book that will educate as it entertains young readers. With magnificent art on nearly every page, any child is sure to appreciate the majestic nature of these animals and come away with a better understanding of what whales face in the open ocean.
Pages: 34 | ISBN: 1916184847
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Roman and his young wife are on their way to beginning a wonderful life together. They will soon be parents, and the biggest problem in their lives is deciding on a name for their unborn child. Roman’s midnight trip to satisfy his wife’s cravings should have been easy–in and out and back home. When Roman is approached by five strange men in the darkness, his errand turns into something much more sinister. Roman is prepared for muggers, but this has a much different feel. When one of the ominous figures addresses Roman as “Master Armon,” he is as confused as he is frightened. Nothing of his simple life will ever be the same.
Veterans of the Psychic Wars, by Wayne Gerard Trotman, is the action-packed science fiction thriller surrounding main character, Roman. Roman is not who he has been led to believe he is. As knowledgeable as he is in martial arts, he cannot possibly be prepared enough to tackle the otherworldly powers he meets when he is attacked and kidnapped on a late-night errand.
If I pick up a book and don’t feel an immediate connection to a character, I am done. Trotman gives readers no time to have to make that decision. His main character’s first moments are filled with trepidation and drama. There is an air of mystery that grabs readers and pulls them into the story. The malevolent presence that descends upon Roman and the sense of foreboding is overwhelming in a wonderfully inviting way.
Roman’s simple life as a teacher makes this story even more engaging. He is one of us–an average guy with an average life. The fact that he is the basis for the intense action and is the center of such an elaborate science fiction plot makes Trotman’s work all the more appealing. Roman is a fantastic character. He is relatable and has a personality readers will want to root for.
Science fiction stories can get complicated and aren’t for everyone. Trotman, however, has navigated the science fiction waters with ease. His writing gives readers the perfect blend of character development, gripping backstories, and technical content. Readers won’t find themselves bogged down in technical jargon. Exchanges between characters are genuine and actually peppered with humorous moments. Trotman has hit upon a riveting mixture of drama, science fiction, and lighthearted banter.
Pages: 424 | ASIN: B004GNFUIY
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Believe in Fairies is an enchanting children’s picture book that gives readers a reason to appreciate wildflowers. How did you come about this theme for the book?
This book was Sherrie’s idea; she’s a keen gardener who loves fairies. My series of children’s books tackle the topic of conservation, and Sherrie shares my concern regarding the loss of wildflower species, here in the UK. The fairies help educate children and their parents about the various types of wildflowers, and their enemies such as snails and mice. The book encourages children and their parents to grow wildflowers and to appreciate them in the meadows and other open spaces.
You wrote this book with Sherrie Trotman. What was the collaboration like between you?
The collaboration was easy and enjoyable. Sherrie wrote the first draft of the poem, and I edited and added to it. I hired and worked closely with the illustrator, communicating Sherrie’s original ideas and those of my own. Once we approved the artwork, I designed the finished book.
I loved the little cute snail that makes an appearance in this book. Do you have any favorite scenes from the book?
Our favourite illustration is titled ‘Their will-o’-the-wisp may give you a fright’. It features three fairies with ghoulish-blue glows. In the foreground, we see two terrified mice fleeing from them. The cute snail was originally a mouse. However, because we have two mice in ‘Their will-o’-the-wisp may give you a fright’, I asked the illustrator to change the other mouse into a snail. I’m glad you like it.
Do you have any future collaborative books that you’re working on?
We have several ideas for collaborative books. However, at the moment, I’m working on the final two books of the Wayne Gerard Trotman’s Rhyming Stories series.
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Mattie Boombalatty is a rhyming story following Mattie as she starts a new school and has to deal with bullies. What was the inspiration behind this book?
The playground taunt, Fatty Boombalatty, inspired the name Mattie Boombalatty. In general terms, bullying at school and cyberbullying seem to be increasing and leading to more tragic results. With bullying being such a universal problem, I thought it would be good to present an ethical, non-violent, and personally enriching way to address it.
The way that Mattie deals with bullies shows that there are other ways to feel rewarded for good behavior. Why do you feel this is an important lesson to learn?
With a bit of soul searching, it becomes clear that a majority of the most potent and memorable works of fiction deal with revenge in one form or another.
In its basic form, the villain is defeated, evil is destroyed, and there is much rejoicing in the land. Children are exposed to this rationale at an early age, and seeking revenge can easily become habitual.
Likewise, because of popular children’s fiction, fame, wealth and physical attractiveness can become more desirable than the apparently mundane virtues of self-contentment, and the appreciation of good friendships and strong family ties.
In the book, Mattie’s values and ethics are tested but she prevails by not taking the easiest path. Revenge may feel good for a while but, ultimately, it does not bring peace of mind.
I think it is important to show that the most valuable rewards for good behaviour may not be those temporary things that we are encouraged to seek. The most valuable things in life – love and friendship are free.
Learning this lesson early in life could mark the difference between lifelong happiness or a lifetime of discontentment.
What was the art collaboration like with illustrator Nhat Hao Nguyen?
I’ve been working with Hao for the past year, and it has always been a joy. He follows my very detailed instructions very well and produces beautiful and informative illustrations that visualise each poem.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working with the illustrators of two books, simultaneously. These will be the last two of seven illustrated children’s books published under the umbrella of Wayne Gerard Trotman’s Rhyming Stories.
A Turtle’s Adventures is about a leatherback sea turtle named Shelly that returns to Matura Beach, in Trinidad and Tobago, to lay her eggs. It aims to inform children and their parents about the threats facing the world’s largest living sea turtles. The premium hardcover book will be available at the end of October, 2020.
A Letter from a Gorilla is written as a letter of complaint from a monocled, silverback gorilla named Silverback Jeremy. It aims to promote conservation of the endangered African mountain gorilla. The premium hardcover book will be available at the end of November, 2020.