Eco Rangers: Pelican in Peril - Q&A with Candice Lemon-Scott
Candice Lemon-Scott has just launched her latest book, Eco Rangers: Pelican in Peril. It was great to learn more about this exciting new title.
When Ebony and Jay, the famous Eco Rangers, rescue a frightened-looking pelican covered in fuel, they know something terrible has happened. Why is the sea full of petrol? And where does it come from? As the Eco Rangers start investigating, they end up getting into big trouble. Join them on their mystery-solving adventures! Eco Rangers to the rescue!
What is Eco Rangers: Pelican in Peril about?
Eco Rangers: Pelican in Peril is the first book in a series of wildlife adventure stories, following Ebony and Jay, the Eco Rangers, who love animals and nature. In each story, they help solve environmental mysteries and look after a wildlife friend, the first being a pelican that they find, covered in oil.
Where did you get your idea for the story?
We are a nature-loving family, so the Eco Rangers are very much based on my own children and their care for animals. I wanted to weave in an environmental theme, so I decided to write it as a mystery/adventure, because I grew up enjoying these type of stories myself, and I still read a lot of books in this genre!
You have two main characters, a boy and a girl, on the cover. Is there a reason for this?
Yes, when I was thinking about writing the story I knew it wasn't a book for girls or a book for boys. Rather, it was a book for kids, especially kids who like reading about animals, and who like adventures. For that reason, I decided the Eco Rangers had to have both a boy and a girl main character.
The pelican in the story is quite a character as well as the Eco Rangers. Did you intentionally do this?
Yes, absolutely. Since the book is all about caring for wildlife, I really wanted the animal friend to be as much a character as the human ones. It also adds to the fun and humour to give the animals plenty of personality. And I really do think animals do have a lot of personality. When I chose the pelican, I recalled one time when there was a pelican feeding and everyone was waiting for the pelicans to appear. The volunteers said there were usually 10-15 pelicans for fish feeding but only one turned up. The volunteers, very embarrassed, had to explain that this pelican had decided it wanted all the fish for itself and had been scaring the other birds off.
What kind of research did you do to write stories about wildlife?
As with most of my books, when I started writing it, I didn't realise just how much research would be involved. For the first story I needed to find out everything about pelicans including what they eat, their habitat, their behaviour etc. Then, I needed to know what threats they face and how sick and injured pelicans are rehabilitated and released back into the wild. As the first book developed into a series, I did a wildlife carer course, so I could learn even more for subsequent stories.
Will there be any more books about the Eco Rangers and their adventures?
Yes, this year three books will be released in the series. The second book is Eco Rangers: Microbat Mayhem which is based on a real-life story about a colony of microbats that's found in an old theme park ride, and the third book Eco Rangers: Wildfire Rescue is about a wildfire and a possum that needs rescuing.
Do you have any pets yourself?
I can't remember a time I haven't had pets. My dad was always bringing stray animals home when I was a kid so I love having animals around. At the moment, we have: Tiny, an Australian Terrier; Toffee, a bearded dragon, and a pond filled with goldfish.
Do you have any tips for people wanting to write for children?
My tips are really simple, but important. Read a lot, write a lot and get feedback from other people who are writing in your genre.
To find out more about Candice, visit her website.