Author of ‘The Caravan Gang’, Anthony Lugo, tells us what it has taken for him to write a children’s book
If someone asks you to describe yourself in short ‘who are you?’ or ‘what do you do?’
What’s your first response? Instantly or instinctively?
This question has changed for me in the last few years.
‘something inside me decided that’s what I would like to do, to be a writer’
I am: a husband/father/plasterer/mental health nurse/manager of a mental health team/singer in a band and occasionally a bit part actor… don’t ask!
These titles don’t appear in any order, however!
A long time ago I thought about writing a book, something inside me decided that’s what I would like to do, to be a writer.
At the time, I shared this idea with a few people who clearly thought, due to the fact I was probably about 20 and worked in the building trade (plasterer), that I was not the type and not clever enough but also that I was a bit strange and odd.
To be described as odd, eccentric or strange was a compliment for me as I have always thought that I was a bit…odd. I think you need to be a bit strange to write a book – they kind of go together.
My initial thoughts were to come up with a unique idea that no one else has thought of and so I settled into deep thought and contemplation and… nothing. More often, good ideas fall on your head.
Fast forward some 20 years, I had a change of career and a university degree in mental health nursing. This hopefully established that I could perhaps write something reasonably sane or insane or just odd.
‘the strange personality comes in handy’
My first idea came from working in mental health settings and hospitals and I set about writing a fictional/fantastical ghost story called:
‘Alex Law and the Secrets of Priory Lodge.’
I wrote the first 4 chapters and at around 4,000 words it was great fun… however…
I wasn’t sure that another 76,000 words later would produce anything that remotely looked like a book.
So, change of plan, I needed a short cut to an approval of my writing skills; my fantastical mental health ghost story adventure was put on the back boiler.
This bit is where the strange personality thing comes in handy.
My wife and I have a caravan placed on a very pretty site in a Devon holiday park.
My strange thought process took off one damp afternoon whilst peering out of the rear window at the pouring rain. I noticed that many of the other caravans on the site had unusual names and, of course, personalities to match.
‘The Caravan Gang’ was born.
Royal Conqueror 840 special – known as ‘Tank’.
Buccaneer Stirling – known as ‘Pop’
Night Star 350 – known as ‘Skye’
Delta 22 – known as ‘Bobby and Becky’ twins
(Becky five minutes older than Bobby off the production line.)
Californian 45 – known as ‘Cowboy’
Finally, the leader of the caravan gang:
Ranger 660 – known as ‘Hamish.’
‘My strange thought process took off one damp afternoon’
Extract from book:
‘We need to do something about the fire!’ yelled Skye.
‘We need to find Hamish!’ cried Becky.
‘No!’ Bobby looked at Becky sternly. ‘Skye is right we need to
help put out that fire, Hamish is not here to lead us;
he’s let us down when we needed him most!’
‘Right we need to think quick and fast!’ said Cowboy turning sharply towards the burning cottage.
‘What are we going to do?’ said Becky desperately.
‘I’ve got a triple loading 8 pint holding, air pumped mega force 10, fire hosed injection, torpedo loaded – water gun… and I intend to use it!’ Cowboy locked and loaded, rolled on towards the cottage.
The Caravan Gang available from Mardibooks and Amazon: