My colleagues consider my Adventures of Jack MacAllistar series "a whole new genre of geographical fiction" combining the excitement of travel, internationalism, and activism amongst young teenagers trying to find their way in the world – novels that truly reflect the adage:
"Books open windows to the world
and have the power to transform lives."
— Ralph Lauren
I've always needed a creative outlet – something for the right brain to do to balance out the daily analytical and methodical needs of day-to-day teaching. For decades, it has been photography, but over the past few years, with more and more stories taking shape, my creative outlet has become writing novels. It began as a means for processing all the great adventures I've had while travelling and living overseas. Paragraphs became chapters, chapters became a book, and my books have become a series:
The Adventures of Jack MacAllistar
Jack is a normal-ish young teenager, with nature-nut parents, yearning for something a little more adventurous than car camping. He wants to be his own person, forging his way into and through a world very different from what his parents experienced. He finally gets his chance with an unexpected family trip to the Galápagos Islands. Adventure awaits, maybe a little too much adventure for Jack and his best friend Erik to survive!
Book 1: Galápagos!
Galápagos! chronicles the exploits of Jack and his best friend Erik, as they experience all that The Enchanted Isles have to offer.
"Jack MacAllistar is always on the sidelines. He yearns for something more exciting than his suburban life with his slightly nerdy, nature-nut parents. So, when twelve-year-old Jack and his best friend Erik find themselves in the Galápagos Islands, his wish for excitement propels them into unexpected adventures that push them to the max. Cornered by humongous sea lions, snorkelling with sharks and penguins, surviving a volcanic eruption, then being marooned on a deserted beach only to stumble upon a discovery that will set the archaeological world alight – can Jack possible handle all that is being thrown at him at once?"
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Book 2: Home Fires
In the second book in the series, tentatively entitled Home Fires, Jack and his friends become activists against what they see as adults ruining their future through inaction.
"Jack MacAllister never in a million years expected to become an activist. His new and revealing experiences last summer in the Galápagos Islands with his best friend Erik, awoke their combined desire to make a difference in the world. "We’re too young to vote, but not too young to shame!" becomes the rallying cry of their small group of globally-minded, thirteen-year-old friends who launch a series of school strikes while encouraging Jack and Erik in their Our Global Future online campaign. But, it’s not without significant challenges from school administration, the mayor, parents, reporters and classmates they once counted amongst their friends. As they forge their way between social norms and democratic rights, the value of friendship is tested when they face a backlash against everything they fervently believe. Jack and Erik also encounter life-threatening experiences while winter camping in Killarney, only to have Jack’s life completely turned upside down when his parents announce they’re moving to Africa."
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Book 3: Safari ya Tanzania!
Jack is forced to leave his life behind and move with his parents to Tanzania, East Africa. While the move brings new friends and many daring adventures at school and on safari, Jack must also learn to navigate the minefield of teenage relationships.
Welcome to Jack’s excitingly adventurous, tumultuously changing world! Having left behind their comfortable, predictable life in suburban, small-city Canada, fourteen-year-old Jack MacAllistar and his family are beginning a whole new life in the uncertain maelstrom of a developing nation, Tanzania, in East Africa. Upon arriving, they quickly learn that nothing is quite as they expected. From the wonderful serendipity of safari adventures to ants swarming their house, they soon discover the contrasting bright side and dark side of living overseas, where ‘everyday is an adventure’. Part of that excitement is meeting new friends like James, a Tanzanian boy on campus; Harry, a British bloke from another school; and the Danish twins, Lea and Mia. Imagine navigating the confusing labyrinth of young teen relationships, a new school and a country with very different standards and expectations. But, along with the beauty of the tropics, the wonderful people and spectacular wildlife and landscapes, Jack learns that poverty is rampant, as is corruption, poaching and smuggling. In fact, from the moment he meets the Deputy Head of his new school, Mr Bourini, Jack knows something is up, and he and his friends must find the courage and cunning to get to the bottom of it, despite the dangers.
Book 4: Tanzania Hatari!
Jack's encounters with poachers just about finishes him off. He and his friends get tangled up in crimes that become deadly for fifteen-year-olds. Can they persevere through this web of deceit and maintain their friendships?
It’s the moment of truth, yet the justice fifteen-year-old Jack MacAllistar and his friends Harry, Mia, Lea, and Sam were hoping for slips away. Instantly, their lives turn into a cat-and-mouse game of deadly threats and traumatic encounters as they try to expose who is really behind the wildlife poaching and illegal trophy hunting in northern Tanzania. Then Erik arrives from Canada and Jack’s world is again turned upside-down. All of this amidst a backdrop of changing teenage relationships, assumptions and misinterpretations leaves Jack constantly on edge, wondering where the danger will come from next. From Maasai bomas to the Swahili Coast and back to the the heights of Mount Meru, difficult life lessons of honesty, integrity, and friendship become harrowing experiences in Jack’s personal quest for fairness and understanding, culminating in utter brutality at the hands of the very people he and his friends have been trying to expose. How can Jack and Harry possibly escape these armed and extremely dangerous criminals?
New Book! tentatively entitled Guilhèm
Duchy of Aquitaine, 1350CE. Rivalry between brothers is nothing new, nor is the disparity that separates nobles and peasants. As barons of Périgord, the family of twelve-year-old Guilhèm is caught up in the devastation being wrought by the Hundred Years' War between the battling monarchs of England and France. But conflict also rages within their family.
Guilhèm has a secret known only to him and his two best friends: being learned and battle-trained, all he wants in life is to be a knight. But, as the second-born son, he must stand by and prepare for a life in the monastery, while his unworthy, good-for-nothing older brother, the heir apparent, rises to the most chivalric of orders. Guilèm's in-built sense of injustice is further challenged by the callous and malicious way his brother treats anyone who crosses his path, especially their peasant workers. How will Guilhèm achieve his dream? And how will be protect his friends from the depravity of his evil brother?
New Book! tentatively entitled Portals.
In the creepiest, dustiest corner of the basement in his family's old toronto home, Dom discovers a long-forgotten box that holds secrets far too real, far too exciting, and far too adventurous to believe.
Stuffed with old manuscripts and trinkets, Dom is mystified at the discovery of a hidden inscription on the inside of the lid of the box:
Voices past, forever dead.
With trinkets soiled.
Alive they speak
Through portals quest,
The truth itself will be revealed.
What could this possibly mean? And what's with all these dusty, old trinkets?
Can't wait to find out? Contact me!