I’m delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for Karen M. Hoyle’s latest children’s book The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner: The Morgawr and the Bad Knockers which is the second in the series. The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner: The Morgawr and the Bad Knockers will be published by Clink Street on 18th October 2016 and is available for pre-order here.
Today Karen M. Hoyle has written a brilliant guest piece about Cornwall, the setting for The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner: The Morgawr and the Bad Knockers.
The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner
Book Two: The Morgawr and the Bad Knockers
Spirited and adventurous children’s book series follows the adventures of a Cornish tin miner and his magical friends.
Two naughty Knockers -grubby trolls who wear miners boots and eat pasty crusts for those of you who don’t know- have been stealing from their community. With no-one else to turn to, it is up to Austin to help his friends out and bring the thieves to justice. However, things take a dangerous turn when the knockers take something explosive and Austin is forced to embark on a very different adventure which will take him underground through perilous tunnels and out into the wild sea.
With the help of new friends, in the shape of sea serpents and Bramble, a female knocker who used to be a wrestling champion, Austin finds himself in a race to save the lives of the magical underground world- but will he succeed? Enjoy the ride as the Cornish coast provides another dose of adventure and magic that children and adults alike with enjoy and remember for years to come.
The Magical attraction of Cornwall
A Guest Post by Karen M. Hoyle
We all know about Pixies and possibly about sea serpents. We all know Cornwall has beautiful blue waters and white sandy beaches with rugged dark coastline that can both be stunning and menacing. But what is magical? – the location?, the myths and stories? or the freedom to allow the imagination to run wild?
Tin mines have always had magical stories attached to them, and in Cornwall I grew up with all the stories passed down through my family and told at school. Nowadays the stories are less well known so eleven years ago I set out to create a series of children’s books that incorporated the old magical stories of mining and magical creatures but that added a modern twist of excitement and readability that young readers and parents would enjoy.
Cornwall is the perfect backdrop for magic of all forms for children to experience and enjoy. The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner series of books for for children is based in real Cornish locations. Children and parents can actually visit the Morgawr Mile on the Roseland Peninsula looking out to sea looking for sea serpents, or they can walk the cliffs from St Agnes down towards Cape Cornwall and take in all the caves and wheal houses of the books. I can easily imagine a mother and child looking down into the dark mine below Wheal Coates Tin Mine and the child can imagine Deffler and all his Knocker friends living down below, while mum is probably thinking more of Aiden Turner sweating at a rockface.
I have found that I have had a significant response from Cornish parents who had almost forgotten stories of Knockers, Pixies, Sea Serpents and myths from around Cornwall. I did a book a signing recently and the parents were saying that they were reading the books and enjoying them as much as the children and it made a change from unreal computer games about magical creatures when they could tell their children about the magic just outside their front doors or at the end of their gardens. Maybe one day an ‘Austin Trail’ may come from Visit Cornwall or the National Trust incorporating the book locations, myths and stories and be a real life Pokémon Go style adventure. #AustinTrailForCornwall – lets get the ball rolling.
Mining itself in Cornwall is part of Cornwall’s heritage and part of the curriculum of local learning for Primary Schools. I have deliberately brought in details about mining that are educational. What mines look and smell like, how miners accessed the mine tunnels, the distance the mines could go and the structure of tunnels underground. I have also brought in how the tunnels could go out to sea and how the mining industry was hard work and communities often had very little money. The tools that miners used are part of the detail as is the important fact that miners ate pasties and that led to a whole magical world underground with Knockers, Pixies and magical stones.
Cornwall is magical whatever way you choose to experience it, either as an adult or as a child. Worldwide tourists are flocking to Cornwall for Poldark, Doc Martin, Rosamund Pilcher and why not bring that experience for children in the magical world of The Adventures of Austin The Cornish Miner and all his magical friends and travels.
My Review of The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner: The Morgawr and the Bad Knockers
I will say first off that I think it would be best to read the first book in the series, The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner: The Rescue of the Dweeble Stone, in order to understand how Austin and the Knockers first met (though that would be no hardship).
This is a lovely story drawing on the folk history of Cornwall and there is a real sense of pride in the area that comes through very strongly.
I think younger children having the book read to them, and older ones reading it for themselves, would enjoy the exciting events and the idea of encountering characters like Deffler.
The bad Knockers, Marky and Greggor, serve to provide a good moral message and the way in which they are dealt with by the rest of the mine dwelling folk is a great example to youngsters of how they should treat others and expect to be treated in return.
The story is well illustrated so that readers of all ages have an enhanced experience. I loved the image of Marky and Greggor with their head torches of lit candles as they carry the dynamite keg.
I think Karen M.Hoyle has, if you’ll pardon the pun, hit a rich seam of themes and local folklore to explore and applaud her bringing the Cornish world to a younger audience.
About Karen M Hoyle
Karen M Hoyle was born in Newquay, Cornwall and grew up with Cornish magical tales all around her. A writer through her career in public relations, Karen wrote her first book The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner The Rescue of The Dweeble Stone in 2004. The book stayed in a moving box for eleven years before resurfacing and finally being published in 2015.
Karen has also written poetry, winning a poetry competition aged 13 which is now showcased at the British Museum. Karen now sees writing as a fundamental part of her future and mixes children’s writing with writing books and blogs related to her profession. Karen continues to live in Cornwall with her writing companion Bailey the Cocker Spaniel who likes to delete items from Karens laptop when bored.