Dolphins Aren't Vegans
... is my unpublished magic realism novel for the youngest Young Adults: 12-14 year olds. I was inspired to write it when I struggled to find stimulating yet age-appropriate books for my daughters as they entered this transformative life-stage. It's also inspired by my own youth, which I spent in northern NSW, not quite fitting into any of the coastal sub-cultures.
Set right now in an Australian coastal town, Dolphins Aren't Vegans tackles serious issues – body image, dyslexia and homophobia – with compassion and humour. There’s no sex, drugs, or rock ’n’ roll in this story, but there are crazy tourists, embarrassing parents, horrible bullies, hidden crimes, a terrible storm, a change of heart, a little philosophy, some new friends and several sausage rolls. It's a stand-alone title of 55,000 words.
Studious, dependable, overweight Willow works in a bakery after school and is a target for bullies. She has a crush on Dylan, who lives to surf because his life on land is compromised by a secret he can’t share. Attractive, sassy Cassie hates both school and working in the bakery with Willow. She dreams of a career in photography but can’t make sense of her camera manual.
The girls have separate, surprising encounters with Daz, who is older, widely experienced but unemployed, a junk food addict and a bit of a hustler. He offers to become Willow’s surfing coach in exchange for bakery leftovers, and to help Cassie to take great photos if she supplies him with soft drink. He knows Dylan’s secret.
Daz is a talking dolphin – the embodiment of a guardian spirit of local legend.
When an international property developer’s plans threaten the natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle of their hometown, Daz enlists the three teenagers in a daring deceit to thwart the developer. When their scheme goes dramatically astray and the property developer goes missing, the teenagers uncover Daz’s deeper deception. It’s time for everyone to come clean.
The resolution includes: re-education, reparation, reconciliation and even reincarnation, because people will believe anything.
If you're an agent or publisher who'd like to see the manuscript, please get in touch.
A novel is never anything
but a philosophy
put into images.