Most of the books are dedicated to people by name, or as a group. Here is a little information about them.
Book 1 – The Princelings of the East
Dawn Cavalieri: my friend and transatlantic guinea pig wrangling buddy. If it wasn’t for the similarity of her Mariusz and my Hugo I don’t think these books would ever have been written.
It’s also a great help that Dawn is a professional editor as well as a talented artist and designer. She goes through each manuscript with a fine toothcomb.
Book 2 – The Princelings and the Pirates
Diane and Mike, Clare, Dawn, Kate, Tonia, and all those who gave me inspiration, not forgetting Jean and Geoff of Castle Fortune.
These are my buddies from the now defunct Rodents with Attitude online forum. It was a great place to be for a good many years, and served its purpose of giving people a safe place to discuss their animal woes, worries, enthusiasms and everything else. Many of the character names come from their guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs are often named after popular characters in film and literature, with the vogue being for Harry Potter as well as several LOTR references. Some of them are also names of aeroplanes, which is why Jupiter and Nimrod were female guinea pigs/characters with male names – they were named after planes.
Book 3 – The Princelings and the Lost City
My friend Julie, hoping her recovery is as swift as my George’s.
My friend Julie had a couple of incidents similar to strokes, which left her learning how to speak again. Fortunately it did not affect other parts of her brain. When she visited, she cuddled Hugo on her lap, with some reluctance, because she had difficulty sensing things through touch. She was delighted to announce ‘I can feel him!’ I called Hugo a therapy pig after that.
If you speak to Julie now (more than eight years later) she may seem to have a slight hesitation in her speech. It comes from still having to consciously think how to make certain vowel sounds. But, like my hero George, you couldn’t put anything into the writing of his speech to represent it.
Book 4 – The Traveler in Black and White
In memory of Mariusz and Hugo.
Mariusz died in January of 2011, Hugo in July the same year. I wrote a short story called ‘the Passing of Lord Mariusz’ which will probably appear as an Epilogue in the final book.
Book 5 – The Talent Seekers
After short acknowledgements to Dawn Cavalieri (see above) and Vikki Motley (see below), the dedication is to all who rescue and care for unwanted people and animals, especially when they have special needs.
Book 6 – Bravo Victor
For Vikki Motley, who brought the real Victor into the world
Soon after I got Fred and George from a different rescue, the Norfolk Rescue picked up where the other one had left off. Vikki was one of the main rescuers at that time, along with Sophie and another person. Just as Fred and George had come from a big collection from a house where things had got out of control, animal-wise, so had Victor’s mum, auntie, and probably dad and uncle too.
Victor was born in the rescue, and Vikki gave me a photo of him at one day old. She also stands by to look after my pigs in case of need, for which I am eternally grateful.
Book 7 – Willoughby the Narrator
I didn’t dedicate Willoughby’s book to anyone in particular, but I did indicate all those people who supported me in the development of this book. Many of Willoughby’s stories appeared on my blog or this website as flash fiction or Christmas specials, so were improved by the comments received.
Book 8 – The Princelings of the North
Dedicated to the people of North West Mull, especially Carolyne and Somerset of Treshnish Farm, where my Castle Haunn took shape.
I fell in love with the cottages at Treshnish and Haunn long before I started these books. Eventually I had to write stories set there. They started as the short stories about Dylan and Dougall. Dylan’s Yuletide Journey started life as a Christmas special for my blog.
As the series grew, I realised that exiling Kevin, and have Dylan and Dougall storming down from the North to right wrongs, was just what Dylan would love to do.
I have no idea whether the residents of North West Mull have any idea these books are around. When I get the Adventures of Dylan and Dougall in paperback, maybe I’ll send some copies to the Ulva Primary School.
Book 9 – Chronicles of Marsh
This will be dedicated to the late Professor Terry Dolan, a friend of my brother who sent messages saying how much he enjoyed the books, and encouraging me to keep writing. More details in this news item.