This week, we have Adam Searle on the blog to discuss his book "Goodbye Mother Bear". Adam David Searle was born on 5th November 1981. He was diagnosed with dyslexia at 5 years old and could not read or write until he was 11. Adam says "I used to love being read stories and, as I had a vivid imagination, I used to tell my own stories. I started to learn to read after discovering the Goosebump books and decided that I too wanted to be a writer." Adam wrote his first story The Big & the Little Monster at age 12 and published it years later in 2017. He has written five additional books including Goodbye Mother Bear. He is currently working on a second book featuring Faraday Bear. Outside of writing, Adam enjoys playing guitar, surfing, collecting autographs, and spending time with his bowtie loving dog, Gambit.
Thank you for joining us Adam. What inspired you to write Goodbye Mother Bear?
The theme for Goodbye Mother Bear was a very hard topic to do but there are many children from all over the world who suffer from the loss of a loved one and are grieving. Much like how adults do, children will grieve in different ways either by withdrawing from the world or shielding their own emotions from others. The grieving process for them is tough and, sometimes, giving support can be just as hard.
There are children's books out there but I felt none of them really went into depth with the feelings of emotions children often feel such as anger, depression and loneliness. They also did not include the feelings of those around them such as friends, neighbours or those at school and how they would cope and the frustration they feel at not being able to help.
That was why I wanted to create a book which tells the story of Faraday Bear, the young bear cub, a character which children could look up to and feel for as they follow his journey through his different emotions and how he distances himself from his friends. Children who have suffered a loss can relate to Faraday while those who know of someone who is grieving can use my book to understand and to help, just like how Faraday’s friends all did.
What was the process like from inspiration to publication?
It was a very long and tiresome process. Although there was very little change from my first to final draft, I spent many hours on research and I was very doubtful of how people would feel about the topic of the story. I sent it to an editor to see what he thought of the story and he loved it! He also felt that children – and adults – would learn a lot from my book.
Do you have a scene in the book that was your favorite to write or see illustrated?
It has to be the ending. I love every page and paragraph of my story and my illustrator Ian Ward did a fantastic job in bringing Faraday and his friends to life. But, during writing, I felt the raw emotion coming from the ending and I still feel it now every time I read it. Faraday never got the chance to say goodbye to his mum and suffered from a number of emotions that kept him distant from those around him, so seeing him and his friends come together to create a memorial in the woodlands that was his mum’s favourite place, and for Faraday to finally say goodbye to her, is magical.
Grief and death are issues that many children will face. Why is this book important for kids to have on their shelves?
Goodbye Mother Bear focuses on many different key points and emotions and grieving and friendship are the main strong topics for this story. If a child is suffering from a loss of a loved one, then I hope they will follow Faraday as he faces his struggles and finds his peace. On the other hand, if a child has a friend, neighbour or a classmate at school who has suffered a loss, I hope that Goodbye Mother Bear will help them too to understand the emotions they will be feeling and how they can help out.
How can parents, teachers, or counselors use this book to engage deeper with their children?
Children will grieve in different ways but many will do so in silence, just like how Faraday did. Faraday could not react with his friends and became very withdrawn and distant as he battled his emotions. But Faraday was not the only one to suffer because his friends also struggled on how to act around him. Goodbye Mother Bear expresses how you are truly never alone and how it is ok to feel sad and to have a cry and how, with good friends, you will always have support.
Do you have any advice for authors that want to write about hard topics?
Yes, and that is research. It is very, very important that you do your research and get your facts correct. Readers will want to get advice from your book so getting it perfect is a must.
I agree, research is so important. Not only on the facts but on your audience and the other books out there addressing the same issues.
Adam, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. Where can we find you to keep up with your work?
I am very active on-line at Instagram where readers can get in contact and keep up to date with my work and future projects and where I will be doing signings! Books can be ordered via amazon (please click the follow button to keep up to date) and local stores such as Barnes & Noble. Personalized signed books can be bought directly from my website where I ship worldwide and readers can also be kept up to date with my blog. It is always a pleasure to hear from my readers or parents and teachers, so please do give me a follow, a like and drop me a message. My website is www.adamdsearle-author.com