Back in January, when I wrote about my writing plans for 2022, I mentioned a project that I hoped would come to fruition before the summer. Well, here we are in May – and apart from wondering how on earth time passed so quickly – I’m delighted to say I have some new book news to share.
On Sunday 5th June, as part of the John O’Groats Book Festival, myself and three other Caithness writers will be launching a new children’s book, Finn and Friends at John O’Groats – A Collection of Verse and Stories. The book includes short stories by myself, Andrea Wotherspoon and Charlotte Platt, and a verse by Ian Leith. Each tale is centred around an orca called Finn, a puffin called Peter, a cat called Black Cat, and Meg Watt, a wind-seller from local legend. The stories reflect three fabricated model animals which were installed near the new John O’Groats Trail start and finish signs in 2021. Finn and Friends has been very much a community-based project, and myself and the other writers have provided our services and our stories on a voluntary basis. All proceeds from the book will be going to the John O’Groats Development Trust, who work to enhance facilities and attractions in the area for the benefit of local residents and visitors to Caithness.
The book features original artwork by the children at Canisbay Primary School, and book production wizardry by Kerrie Moncur Typesetting and Design, a wonderful local business. I’ll be posting more details in the run-up to the launch date (keep an eye on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or on the John O’Groats Development Trust/John O’Groats Book Festival Facebook page).
In the meantime, here’s a preview of the book’s cover, which shows Finn the Orca, Black Cat and Peter Puffin getting ready to embark on their adventures. Helpfully, the book will be launched during Orca Watch 2022, which has its base in John O’Groats from Saturday 28th May until Sunday 5th June. So if you don’t happen to glimpse an orca during Orca Watch, fret not, as we can pretty much guarantee a (fictional) orca encounter in the Seaview Hotel at 2.30pm on Sunday the 5th June – just bring your imagination, and the £10 purchase price.
The authors (and the animals) look forward to seeing you there!
Finn and Friends at John O’Groats is suitable for all age groups with a reading age of approximately 8 years and upwards. The book will be available to buy in various local outlets following the launch. For those wishing to purchase from outside Caithness, a link to buy will also be available on the John O’Groats Development Trust website after the 5th of June.