The Storm Bottle by Nick Green
Published Date: January 2013
The Story: Swimming with dolphins is said to be the number one thing to do before you die. For 12-year-old Michael, it very nearly is. A secret boat trip has gone tragically wrong, and now he lies unconscious in hospital. But when Michael finally wakes up, he seems different. His step sister Bibi is soon convinced that he is not who he appears to be. Meanwhile, in the ocean beyond Bermuda’s reefs, a group of bottlenose dolphins are astonished to discover a stranger in their midst – a boy lost and desperate to return home. Bermuda is a place of mysteries. Some believe its seas are enchanted, and the sun-drenched islands conceal a darker past, haunted with tales of lost ships. Now Bibi and Michael are finding themselves in the most extraordinary tale of all.
My Review: This book just makes you want to say awww! It is so fun and so cute! Bibi is so fun to read, especially with the way her mind works! Its neat, also, reading from the dolphin's perspective! I can't imagine the journey Bibi and Michael go on!! There's so much I want to say about this book, but I don't want to spoil it in any way for you!! Just go get it, you won't be sorry!
Author Nick Green Nick Green is a UK children's and YA author, best known for his trilogy The Cat Kin, published in the UK by Strident Publishing and in Germany by Ravensburger, and also as a BBC audiobook. He has appeared on BBC radio talking about his books, and has been shortlisted for two UK children's book awards. He regularly does school visits and other children's literary events. The Storm Bottle is his first straight-to-Kindle novel.
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If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
My great-great-grandfather on my mother’s side. I own a rather beautiful wooden box, reminiscent of The Box of Delights in John Masefield’s book, and my great-great-grandfather made it. That is the only thing I know about the man – I don’t even know his name, though I could find out. I would love to be able to show him that I still have it, that it has been cherished by so many people over the years. I wonder what he’d make of our lives now.
If you were a superhero what would your name be?
I actually am a superhero, so for obvious reasons I can’t really divulge that information. All I will say is that I have sent compensation anonymously to the citizens of Chelyabinsk for their shattered windows and other damage, and apologised on Twitter for the panic that was caused by that alleged ‘meteor’. I’ll try to keep the altitude higher in future! Izvinite – sorry about that.
If you weren't human, what would you be?
See above. However (to be serious for a moment) in writing The Storm Bottle I spent long hours trying to imagine what it’s like to live as a dolphin, doing a lot of reading and research into their lives, how they sense and perceive the world and communicate and so on. And I think it would be pretty cool, living as a dolphin. Daily life would be rather like being permanently plugged into Twitter, as dolphins can hear conversations going on for miles around them underwater, and as such can form astonishingly sophisticated social groups. I realised that they must have a totally different sense of ‘person’ and ‘place’ – physical places mean little to them, but social places are everything. ‘Where you are’ is defined by where you figure in the hierarchy, who your friends are, etc. I’d love to be a dolphin for a bit, and see if my intuitions are anywhere close to the truth.
If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
My own. Visiting the past is all very well if it’s a tourist trip – but it’s like going on holiday. You can visit Africa for the safaris or India for the ancient culture – or Tudor times to see Henry the Eighth – but in the end, if you live there, you’ve got to deal with the violence, the poverty, the squalor, and Henry the Eighth. The present is hugely under-rated as a time in which to live. We’ve got advanced healthcare, gadgets for everything, governments that for all their flaws are better than anything in the past, global transport… the list goes on. I would never want to live in an antibiotic-free era in which a thorn in your finger could ultimately kill you. (Unfortunately, I think we may be headed that way!).
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Michael in The Storm Bottle bears a passing resemblance to me in some ways, but he’s more stuck-up than me (I hope) and ends up being far more heroic than I ever would be. Fictional characters do tend to favour the extremes – real people are far too subtle and complex to transfer easily to the page. What generally happens is that writers write about what they know, and so some of their characters will inevitably share their own interests, and perhaps some biographical details. But this is not a way of saying ‘This is me! This is me on the page in a thin disguise!’ It’s just easier, because you know for instance what it’s like to sing in a choir, or play rugby, or to have divorced parents. The interesting thing is that the other protagonist, Bibi, was far easier to write, and yet she has almost nothing in common with me.
What was it like when you sold your first book?
My first book to be published was The Cat Kin, which is book 1 of the Cat Kin trilogy. I had already self-published it before it was taken on by Faber, and it did very well for a short time, until I wanted to do the sequel – but Faber pulled out of doing the series, so I had to switch publishers to Strident. All in all, it was such a convoluted and stressful process that I don’t think I enjoyed it very much at all – not as much as actually writing the thing. But it’s still out there, and still gets some great reader responses. Book 3 came out this year.
Which scene or characters were the most difficult for you to write and why?
Writing all the dolphin parts was particularly challenging, because I had to throw out everything we normally take for granted – even things like where people are when they converse with each other. Dolphins can have a chat from half a mile away, they can see in two ways (eyesight and sonar), they only sleep with half their brain at a time, and of course they have no hands or material possessions. So what do they even talk about? And how do you transcribe their click-based speech as words? I had to take all this into account whenever the dolphins were around. Some of my solutions were plucked out of thin air: for instance, I made my three main dolphin characters have Spanish names and accents, to suggest a culture that was ‘foreign’ but still quite similar to our own. This is how Michael (who becomes a dolphin) perceives them; they’re not really Spanish of course, but his brain interprets their ‘foreignness’ that way. Furthermore, all dolphins within a particular pod have similar or themed names. This was inspired by scientific research which found that dolphins in social groups develop similar name-whistles to emphasize their bond.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you pick for Michael and Bibi?
They’d have to be child actors of course, and I don’t really know the names of many of those. Given the time it takes to make a movie, they probably haven’t even been born yet! It would be weird though if it were to happen. I think Bibi especially would be great fun to play. It’s a totally ham role.
With all the books being made into movies right now, are you for or against it?
If it works, go for it. Better books than video games, I say. But I do weary of ‘trends’, like everything being vampires or superheroes. I love superheroes, and they make for great cinema, but now they’re everywhere, it’s like a plague. I also disagree with the idea that books are ‘made into’ movies, as if that was a natural graduation for the most successful. We should think of it as ‘movies being made based on books’. The book cannot be made into a movie, because it still exists as a book, and the two will always be totally different. But this is a good thing: I can love The Lord of the Rings as a book and as movies, and not complain where the two are different from each other. They’re both great, and there’s a time to enjoy each of them in turn.
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