1. Why the Scilly Isles?

My teen novel on the Scilly Isles is nearing completion and it should be going to the printer well before the end of June. I feel I have achieved an improvement in writing since the second book of the trilogy. Now that we are on the third book I have to say a ‘goodbye’ to the characters I have grown to love and nurture. Goff, the central one, was called so to immortalise my uncle, Godfrey Taylor, who went down with his ship in 1940 attempting to bring food to us in England. But for these brave men we might have experienced siege situations.


I was fascinated by the Scilly Isles when we visited in 1981 and 1991. Islands are of interest as closed communities. If I had my way I would have gone again and again. There was no end to the experiences on these islands. Just a few examples: the Scilly divers, active over wrecks in the summer, the Bishop Light, visited in calm seas, the pristine beaches on outer islands, the storm waves at Hell Bay, I have worked on them and more as the novels develop. I suppose my account could be considered history but I feel the Scilly Isles will not alter substantially. They were so pristine. I tried to make my physical account of the islands and their histories as correct as possible. I checked and rechecked by literature which I had collected. Then I imposed an active plot which would appeal to early teens. All characters are pure fiction. Not even Goff resembled my uncle because I hadn’t known him. All I knew was that he was a caring person and my character of Goff was like this. I set up the character of the impulsive Howard for contrast. Others slotted in. I cannot say I ever found characters of evil intent in the islands.

The second book
of the trilogy had an anti-drug theme. The crew met up in Western Australia and shared the plot with a few more minor characters who shared the fight against drug smuggling. After this book was written I decided to cut out a few of the crew and filling in a little of their past exploits, had them caring for the environment back in the Scilly Isles. I improved with more characterisation in this book III, the Golden Spiral. The plot worked out well.


You ask, what about the first book? This was at the beginning of my experimentation. The trilogy shows the development of my writing. It occurred to me that people bringing kids to the islands would like to have a little story to illustrate the parts of the islands that they could discover. There was plenty to interest them there. They travelled all over the inhabited islands. So I invented a plot with characters named after members of my mother’s family. This was a sort of lucky dip of names and they appeared in the other novels. Except the chauffeur later, Benson, who seemed to become a very popular character with the readers. He did not appear until the second book and had a heroic personality all of his own. I developed him further. True to form, no one ever hears his first name. The first book was a more thorough description of the islands as they appeared to me then – almost a travel guide for kids.

In two weeks time I’ll give a list of chapters in book III.