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Underwater adventure

Underwater adventure

When Aster wakes up on a tropical island, with no idea how she got there, she has one aim - to find her missing sister, Poppy. But she has no idea where to start looking. Author Lindsay Galvin tells us more!

THE SECRET DEEP is a thrilling underwater mystery that was inspired by Lindsay Galvin's time spent living and scuba diving in Thailand.

The book follows Aster after she wakes alone on a tropical island, with no idea of why she is there, and desperate to find her younger sister, Poppy. Then Sam, who the sisters met on a plane, draws the connections between their disappearance and strange things happening in his own life.

Debut author LINDSAY GALVIN tells us more about THE SECRET DEEP:

Q: What is your background and what brought you into writing for young people? How difficult is it to combine writing and a career?

A: I am a teacher, and I have taught Science part time to 8 - 11 years olds for over ten years, despite being an English Literature graduate. I mainly write in the evenings when my school work is done. It is tricky to find the time, but I absolutely love doing it, which helps.

Q: Is The Secret Deep the first novel you have written? What were the most important lessons you learned about writing from having completed it?

A: The Secret Deep is my first ever novel, when I started it I had not even written a short story since I was a child! I've learned so much, particularly when working with my critique partner, agent and editor, mainly that writing is rewriting; this book has been through many many incarnations before reaching the final product.

Q: The book is narrated by Aster with some chapters focused on Sam, her friend. Why did you give it this structure?

A: The structure is important to this book because Sam's adventure is separate from Aster's but both are trying to solve the same mystery.

Q: As well as action and adventure, your novel explores how illness and bereavement affect children, specifically through cancer. Why did you decide to introduce this element to the story?

A: The death of Aster's mum is important both to the plot line and to her development as a character. I wanted to show how one person copes with bereavement, I think it is important that young people can read these narratives that do affect so many, and that they are told in a truthful but hopeful way. Finding your own experience reflected in all sorts of books is so powerful.

Q: The book draws on real life for its settings - have you visited places that inspired these?

A: Yes! I lived in Thailand for two years and feel in love with tropical islands and scuba diving and particularly the underwater world. My experiences fed directly into this story.

Q: Although there is a real life setting and action, you also introduce a twist that takes us in a different direction. How difficult was it to keep this believable, and was the science angle important in doing so?

A: The Secret Deep is set in a contemporary world and I think Sam's experiences help to keep it grounded in realism. I researched the science behind it at length and although the technology doesn't yet exist (as far as we know) it is all based on real research.

Q: As well as action and adventure, do you like to introduce elements to your novels that help your readers learn about the world around them?

A: Yes, I hope that my love and respect for the natural world and the mysteries it still holds comes through in the book. As a teacher and a writer, sparking and encouraging young people's curiosity about our beautiful planet is incredibly important to me.

Q: Key parts of the novel are set underwater in the ocean - and you introduce us to some of its wildlife. Is sea life a passion of yours or was it something you explored specifically for the novel?

A: I love all wildlife and am a huge David Attenborough fan. I have been fascinated by sea-life and the deeps of the ocean for as long as I can remember. I drew on my own experiences scuba diving, and then researched the rest. Discovering about the wildlife featured in The Secret Deep was almost too enjoyable, I could lose hours reading about them!

Q: Do you plan to write a follow-up to Aster and her sister Poppy's adventures?

A: The Secret Deep is written as a standalone and I expect it will stay that way although I often explore Aster and Poppy's future in my mind.

I'm currently writing another teen novel where science and myth collide again. My favorite place to write is my desk, but I can write anywhere and my best ideas come to me on walks, bike ride, swimming, or when driving. Movement seems to get the ideas flowing.

Q: Aster is a keen swimmer - what's your passion and how did it develop?

A: I also love to swim and have just started getting into wild swimming. My sister and I are planning to swim outdoors every week of the year and now I've told you, I have to stick to it! I have also recently started paddle-boarding. Other than that I adore reading and now writing, and these take up a lot of my free time.

Q: What are the best three books for young people that you've read recently and would also like to recommend to our members?

A: So difficult to choose only three! I absolutely adored The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson, so beautifully written and exploring difficult topics in a positive uplifting way. I just finished Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen, which is both scary and poignant, exactly the blend of sci-fi with beautifully painted characters that I enjoy. And I recently re-read Phoenix by SF Said, a space adventure with a dazzling message and illustrations that I will never get tired of.

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