Dee has always loved bears; her furry friends were forced to be patients when she was just ten years old, so she could practice nursing on them! They were given injections, bandaged and stitched up so many times, they quivered every time she came near, but as with all teddy bears, they remained faithful and loving. Now Dee has grown up, she practices as a real nurse on unsuspecting humans, giving her teds a well earned break. They now sit in her home in the Sherford Valley, along with many other bears collected over the years, and inspire her with ideas for stories.
This story is about Sherford's Lost Valley told by Bertrum. Bertrum is a Dinker, which is a tiny wild bear, a distant relative to the black bear. He and his sister Lilly tease each other and play on the hills of where they live when they hear Pikkamee, another Dinker, in an uproar about something. The siblings learn that humans were coming to rip up the forest, which meant that their beloved home was going to be destroyed. The bears realize that they were going to have to move out of Sherford Valley, but to where, they did not know. Then Bertrum had an idea. In order to save themselves from the humans the bears needed to get help from a human, and he knew exactly which one, a little girl who lived at a nearby farm. Her name was Kerrys. But how to contact her?
Bertrum didn't know but then an opportunity opened and he decided to approach her at night while she was sleeping. It would be easy right? Well, not exactly. At first she didn't believe him, thinking he was a toy, but when she realized that Bertrum was real, her attitude changed and she was more than happy to help him with his quest to save the forest. Her plan was to sell the bears at a festival so the humans could learn more about them and change their tune about taking down the forest. But everything doesn't go as planned, and one thing after another begins to go wrong. Will Bertrum and Kerrys be able to save the forest?
This is an interesting English tale which is partially based on truth. Some readers might have problems understanding some of the text but the author supplies in the beginning terms and definitions to help the reader, so the story can flow smoothly. Children who love bears will want to read this story again and again, wondering if Dinkers are real and what they can do to help save their habitat. Their are many meanings that readers can take away from the story and the biggest one is working together to solve a problem. One voice has a hard time being heard, while many can knock you off your seat. The main plot of the story is clear. As humans who share the land with the animals, we have a responsibility to protect the animals. The author does a great job creating interest about the Dinkers and weaves a wonderful 68 page compelling story children of all ages will enjoy. The author can even make a Dinker stuffed animal bear for anyone who would like one of their very own.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m a fun loving, friendly nutter with a vivid imagination. I love reading and can’t get enough of books. I also like to paint/illustrate, make things, sew, go walking, flying; in a plane that is! Meeting people and going to new places.
I’m married to the most handsome man in the world, and have three grown up sons; all equally gorgeous, and one granddaughter; she’s yummy.
I trained to be a nurse in 1975 and have had a very exciting and varied medical career. I left nursing last year and took a part time job as a housekeeper in a small hotel/pub, so I could concentrate more on my writing; though I miss my patients, I don’t miss the stress!
When did you begin writing?
Ideas for stories blossomed in my head when the children were little, (mid 1980’s). I’d start to write them down but was too busy being a mum to really do much about them. I still have one little story in my treasure trunk though, and I just might pull it out one day, polish it and publish it!
Latterly, I started in 2008.
For those who don’t know, what is Sherford’s Lost Valley about?
It’s about tiny wild bears called Dinkers, who live secretly in a small wood within a valley in South Devon, England. They’ve never been seen, though may have been heard once-in-a-while!
They are living in dangerous times as development of a new town will wipe out their natural habitat, and they have to move on. It’s their adventures and struggles as they step out into the unknown.
What exactly is a Dinker?
A Dinker is a tiny wild bear originating from somewhere in America, high in some mountains, somewhere! (No one knows where)!
When a black bear gave birth to 3 cubs, one of the female cubs was very small. Thinking it wouldn’t survive, the mother left her to die. A wise man that lived in the mountains found her and bought her home to live with him, along with a number of other strange creatures. She thrived under his care and was very healthy though remained very small.
One day a small brown bear came to live with them and soon became good friends with the little black bear. Eventually they had cubs of their own, which were even smaller but had remarkable abilities to make up for their tiny size. They would mimic the wise man’s speech; which made him laugh and he called them his little dinky darlings.
When he died, all the strange creatures had to fend for themselves, some died out and some are only heard of in legends. But the tiny bears thrived and became too numerous for the mountains alone, so spread out into the world.
Calling themselves ‘His Dinkers’, they continue to communicate in his language; though they do have different names for some things.
They’ve never tried to make contact with other humans, even though they prefer to live near them. Until now!
Can you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book? I’ve heard it’s a true story. Is it?
Well, is it true? It could be! But truth does come into the story as there is a new town about to wipe out this beautiful valley. Our home and land sits at the heart of this development so WE will have to move on.
It was when we were told we had to go that the idea came to my mind. I wanted to do something to remember the valley by. At first I thought of making a bear collection and calling them ‘Sherford Valley Bears’, but then a story took shape and the ‘Dinkers’ where born.
What breaks my heart is all the wonderful wildlife surrounding us that will be destroyed. There are many that live in the hedgerows surrounding the fields, and many that burrow underground. I can’t bear to think of those precious creatures suddenly being tossed in the air by the destructive teeth of a digger. At least in the books the Dinkers understand what is about to happen, and can get out.
There are many species of animals still being discovered, so when you’re next out walking in a wood somewhere, take a look for holes dug out of banks, or under tree stumps, see if you can see a Dinker!
What is your most favorite part about this book and why?
I guess if I had to choose, it would be the introduction of Theo Beckett, a strange Dinker who visits them. (His character is based on one of the developers! With their permission of course)
I like the way he talks and his nonchalant, matter-of-fact attitude.
What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your book?
A lot can be done when you pull together. No challenge is too big to overcome no matter how tiny you are. Care about what we do to our countryside and care about helpless animals.
LOVE your bear, he’s a faithful, loving and forever friend and he may just know a Dinker or two!
Is this a series? If so, what other books do you have?
Yes. Although the stories do stand alone, the Dinkers are on a quest to find a new home and have many trials and dangers to overcome before getting there. Books 2 & 3 are already published; book 4 will be out next year.
Do you have plans to write other books outside of this series?
Possibly. I’ve been requested NOT to close the door on the Dinkers, so there may be some adventures to be told once they reach their new home!
I’ve also had some seeds of an adult novel floating around my head, I’m not sure about that though, as I’m passionate about children reading, so may just concentrate on them.
Do you have other writing accomplishments you would like to share?
Only an in depth study I once did on ‘exercise and health’ during my nursing days, which was recommended to be turned into a paper to be published in a medical journal. Nothing else, yet!
How is your book available? (Paperback, kindle, etc…)
Paperback at the moment, but shortly I’m hoping to get them onto Kindle.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
The books can be ordered through any good bookshop, but Amazon or my website www.sherfordbear.co.uk is the best options. Though buyers must be aware that book 1, ‘Sherford’s Lost Valley-Bertrum’s Story’, has been revised and is a second edition. It should NOT be purchased through Authorhouse as this shouldn’t, legally, be available from them now.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
Yes. www.sherfordbear.co.uk my blog is on my website.
Are you connected through twitter and / or face book?
I’m on twitter @sherfordbear I’m also on LinkedIn but my Facebook page is friends & family only.
Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?
I’m working on a storyboard for YouTube. I’ll announce it through my blog when it’s up and running.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Oh, there’s so much I could say, but if it’s just one piece of advice it would be: BE PATIENT, do your research, always get professional editing and BE PATIENT. If you rush you’ll regret it and publish something less than you’re capable of.
What is up next for you?
Lots of publicity and marketing, and get started on start book 4. We’ll also have to find somewhere in the world to live soon!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our listeners about you or your books?
I will be giving a book away to the first ten people who go onto my website and leave me their details on the comments page, quoting your radio show. Thereafter, anyone wanting to buy one, and quotes your show, I’ll give a discount, especially if they want all three books.
I’d also appreciate feedback, and a review on Amazon would be great.
Is there anything that someone can do to help save the Dinkers?
Tell others about them.
I can also make one for anyone who’d like to have one to love!
Thank you so much for the interview. It is appreciated.