The slap of spray on her face, the exhilaration of the boat cutting through waves, the call of the sea birds and the summer sun warming her skin...
Through all the challenges – starting a new school, making new friends, a father absorbed in his work, and missing her mother – Jodie finds solace in sailing. But will the ocean turn against her?
Can she save the lighthouse from development? Why are there dead penguins floating in the water? Who is the girl in the photo that she finds hidden under the stairs? And, most importantly, where is her mother?
Jodie's voyage of discovery takes her to a place she never dreamed she'd be ... But how will she convince her father that it is real?
Diane Fagan was born on the northern prairies in Alberta, Canada – far from the ocean. When she came to Australia, she found a new passion for sailing. Diane has always written stories, and has won prizes for her short stories for adults. Jodie's Rescue is her first young adult novel and she is currently working on the second book in the Jodie series. She has four adult children and lives with her husband and cute corgi Louis, in Sydney.
Short Stop Press
Author: Diane Fagan
Interview with Diane Fagan
Question: What inspired Jodie's Rescue?
Diane Fagan: As a teacher, I've taught children from all ages, and have an enormous love and respect for them, so I wanted to write a book that could encourage them to be brave and confident, and willing to be themselves. I've been sailing around Sydney Harbour for many years and I always envisaged a young girl, growing up with a love of the ocean, living in a boatshed with her father, and sailing her little boat on the harbour, having adventures!
Question: What research did you conduct prior to writing?
Diane Fagan: I find it so much fun to research a topic or a place or an idea. I needed to investigate the different kinds of boats that Jodie would sail, because I'm used to sailing on larger boats. I had to find one that she could sail by herself. One that was light and single-masted and easy for her to get in the water from the wharf. I also researched the different islands on Sydney Harbour, many which have fascinating histories. For instance, Rodd Island is mentioned in Jodie's Rescue and has had lots of different families living there as caretakers, and the children had to row to shore to get to school. I expanded on that fact with the island children having penguins as pets.
Question: What was the best part of creating the character of Jodie?
Diane Fagan: I just love creating Jodie, because she's the kind of child I'd like to be! She's challenged by so many things, like starting a new school and having no friends, and coping without a mother, and yet in spite of all this she doesn't let it overwhelm her. I also like that she feels connected to nature and the environment, particularly the ocean and the sea birds, and through her sailing, she gains strength and self-confidence.
Question: What originally inspired you to begin sailing?
Diane Fagan: My husband of course, who has been sailing since he was a boy! When I moved here from Canada, he owned a timber yacht, very beautiful but low to the water so we'd often get wet! We'd sail every weekend in races on Pittwater and often sleeping on the boat and having barbeques on the beach. I like being involved and trying new things, so I learned all I could about sailing and eventually entered in the Lady's races, and won!
Question: Why do you love sailing?
Diane Fagan: Like Jodie, I'm connected to nature and when you're sailing, you feel such a part of the sun and the wind, the waves and the sea creatures. You're using all of nature's elements to move over the ocean, without any mechanical assistance, and the experience is almost spiritual. You're connected to something that is bigger than you. The oceans are so vast and wide, and the horizon and sky are endless. Utilising nature's power has been around for thousands of years, using the sea for sustenance and travel. I feel like I'm a part of a bigger picture.
Question: What's next for you?
Diane Fagan: I've started writing the sequel to Jodie's Rescue because I envisage so many more adventures for her! I want to see if she's settled into her new school, and if her father is communicating with her and not hiding his feelings . I also wonder if Jodie's mother is going to visit her again and take her to another place. And then there's that awful Alicia! I wonder if she's still a bully!
Interview by Brooke Hunter