Sunday, 13 December 2015
As a child growing up on a farm in rural Ireland, he recalls a scrawny aged ash tree that grew on the side of a hill on the family farm.
Its roots were exposed as it clung, somehow, to the hillside.
He imagined that there were tunnels beneath the tree and its roots and that there was a busy civilisation of wee folk who lived out their lives there.
Which brings us to his novel Terragaineous...
Callum is 15 years old, an ordinary young boy, living an ordinary life, until fate decides that it has other plans for him, when Callum's mother unexpectedly dies.
Riven with grief and rage at this cruel turn of events, Callum's life, his whole world, falls to pieces.
Several weeks later Callum becomes convinced that he has finally succumbed to insanity caused by his grief when he is rescued by a homeless man. Yet this homeless man is no ordinary man. He is an extraordinarily small man. In fact, he is a tiny man.
The tiny man reveals to Callum that he is a member of an ancient subterranean civilisation made up of tiny folk just like himself.
He regales Callum with stories of how they reside, happily in a magical world where all live in harmony with nature. Far away from the turmoil of the life led by humanity.
Realising that he has not lost his mind, Callum latches on to this opportunity to live beyond his own hurt and he convinces his friends to help him assist the tiny man to find his way home.
But exactly where will their open, childish curiosity and kind-heartedness take them?
What will happen to their tiny friend? What will happen to them?
This is a book that will captivate children -and adults- as it draws them into the world of Terragaineous.
It is published by Matador at £8.99 and will make an excellent present for children of all ages. It is not available for Christmas (the official publication date isn't until 28 December) but you can pre-order it at the Amazon-powered That's Books and Entertainment book shop, which will be found at the right hand side of this review.