The Real Sea House

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Our imagination is often sparked by events or experiences that we have. Sometimes that can be the inspiration for stories. Even if those stories are completely fictional, they may have grown from fact. That’s certainly the case with ‘The Sea House,’ and I’d love to tell you about the experiences that led to some of the fish and creatures featuring in the story, and how they got their names!

There actually are fish as sparkly as Fabulous in the ocean! While I was snorkelling on holiday, I was completely dazzled by this bright, twinkling fish that was flitting in and out of the coral. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, I had never seen such a beautiful fish.

That evening I searched online to find out what fish I had seen. I discovered that it was a Damsel fish, also known as a Jewel fish because they are so glittering.

When the idea for ‘The Sea House’ came to me, I knew this fish had to be one of the stars of the story. Finding out more about the fish also made me want to include factual information about these fish and creatures in the book, so I hope you enjoy Fabulous’s Fantastic Fish Facts at the end of the story.

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Not all of the experiences I’ve had with these creatures in the sea has been fun though. I was very scared when I saw stingrays swimming below me. They were magnificent, their giant wings powering them through the water. But they also looked menacing, and I knew they could be deadly. Sea urchins have always given me the creeps too, all those black spikes! Just imagine if thousands of them formed a terrifying army…… But neither of these creatures want to hurt or harm us, and Fabulous explains in her Fantastic Fish Facts that the spikes of urchins and the poisonous tail of the stingray, are just to protect themselves.

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I was lucky enough to join the volunteers of The Barbados Sea Turtle Project as they collected baby turtles, known as hatchlings, which were struggling to find their way to the sea. They are rescued and put into buckets, then released into the sea at sunset. Nearly all species of turtle are endangered. This is why the volunteers work so hard to help every hatchling have the best chance of survival. Turtles have travelled our seas for a hundred million years. It’s heartbreaking to think they are now under threat. That’s why I wanted to have a turtle as a central character in ‘The Sea House.’ I hope you will love Ramone and I hope he may inspire you to help protect turtles and our oceans.

I also found inspiration for the names of the characters in ‘The Sea House’ while I was on that same holiday where I saw all these amazing creatures. Ramone the turtle is named after a lovely teacher I met on the island. He loves reading with pupils, so I can’t wait to give him a copy of the book for him to share with them. I think they’ll find it funny that their teacher has a funky turtle who wears shell chains named after him! 


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Remember the breakdancing eel, Marvin ‘Hot Moves’ Mackenzie?

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Well this is the real life Marvin! He does fishing trips on a glass bottom boat. He’s so cool isn’t he?

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One day I was walking along the beach and a man came up to me selling mangoes and coconuts. We started to chat and I asked his name. He said.......’Fabulous!’ That really was his name, and I knew immediately that would be just perfect for the most sparkly fish in ‘The Sea House.’

So no matter how magical or fantastical a story might seem, don’t forget to look for the truth that lies within it.

 
Lucy Owen