Author: Teresa Harrison-Best
I wrote Mackerel over a period of time, it was my first attempt at writing a children’s story and I just loved it. I was in the most fortunate position in having grandchildren, a ready made audience you may say, a great barometer as to whether the book is heading in the right direction or not, the bored look and fidgety posture was the greatest indicator.
I love the playfulness of rhyme and how it can create a wonderful rhythm. The story of Mackerel is in rhyme, I believe it is a gentle way to introduce children into another way of communication. It gives them permission to just have fun whilst learning about language. Experimenting with words is like experimenting with music.
It was after reading an article about the relationship of seafarers and their cats that I fell in love with the idea of writing about a small, tabby cat called Mackerel, yes, his stripes became his distinctive name. A sea captain called Mathius Tomkin Bloodshot, who was ordinarily quite fierce adopted Mackerel as his ship’s cat. The two of them become inseparable and share adventures involving the ship, “The Jolly Daisy“ and its pirate crew, who also love Mackerel. The rodents of the ship have other ideas but that comes to an abrupt end when Captain Longtooth and his bunch of ne’er-do-wells attack Daisy and her crew. It becomes the right time for Mackerel to show off his loyalty and valour towards his fellow crew. This is the first book in the Mackerel series.
I had some initial illustrations done to compliment the story. This was designed to show any future publisher how Mackerel could appeal to children and adults alike, obviously for different reasons. The drawings brought the story alive.
I was attending a book fair in Worthing, my hometown, where I was actually selling my previous book “Catawall, fluent in feline” on that particular day. I was drawn to the stall for i-2-i Publishing where I met Lionel Ross, was to become the publisher for Mackerel. It was uncanny really as I decided at the last minute to take a manuscript of Mackerel along to the fair. I asked Lionel if he would like to see it. He agreed and asked to take a copy away, so that he could review it in a less hectic environment. Imagine my delight when, the following day, he called me and said he would love to publish Mackerel.
Then the marvellous BazMac got involved as ‘Mackerel’s’ illustrator and the book took on a new life.
I am immensely proud of the book and hope it appeals to young and old alike. My first customer is 91; she is a lifelong cat fan. She absolutely loved it. What a great endorsement!
I’m delighted to announce that “Mackerel and The Jolly Daisy” is now available from Amazon. This book is the first in the series. Here is the link to Amazon, it is also becoming available elsewhere!