Astro’s Adventures, The Haunted Circus was going to be a tricky book to write from the start.
I wanted to send the characters to a circus because I wanted to raise awareness of the plight of circus animals.
I know that a lot has changed in regards to their welfare, but there are still some people who don’t understand what it must be like for an animal like an elephant, for example, to be kept in a small cage and to do tricks for our entertainment.
I didn’t want to come down too heavy either.
The Astro’s Adventures books are for children and they are written to be fun and engaging.
So, I decided to turn the tables slightly and I created a situation where all the main characters were dog-napped by wicked clowns.
The dogs then have to save themselves and, as things turned out, the rest of the circus animals too
I wanted to show how silly and cruel getting animals to do tricks in circuses but I didn’t want to pick on any of the minor characters.
Instead, I put each of the main characters into a situation where they were made to perform outlandish tricks.
Astro was made to jump through a hoop of fire; Alfie was prepared to be shot out of a cannon and Digger was tossed about by the trapeze artists.
Poor Stella, the blind dog, was going to be made to dive from a platform into a bucket of water.
If I had put the resident animals into these positions it would have been much crueller
As it is, some of the situations are comical and more importantly, my characters are strong and determined.
They can stick up for themselves and, of course, stop their tormentors.
Which they did quite successfully.
I know using humour can lighten a situation and make it seem less important, but when you are writing for children I believe it is important to send them a message in a way that they will understand and relate to.
Check out The Haunted Circus here