I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Simon James House to talk with me about his book, Andee the Aquanaut, Guardian of the Great Seas. Simon was born in London. He has always been highly creative with a strong and vivid imagination. Simon spends most of his time now living in-between London and Sydney, Australia, where his passions are surfing and writing.
He constantly seeks new and creative ways to express himself; one of these ways being through writing fiction stories. His passion for writing motivates him to create inspiring works that are original and innovative, sparking the reader’s imagination, taking them on a journey into his world. Simon is also the creator of the FreeForma Free-racer Game, and inventor of the Classic surf/skate FreeForma bike.
Visit and learn more about his new Menosaurs series and the Andee the Aquanaut trilogy via his website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
How did you discover indieBRAG?
IndieBrag found me; I still don’t know who nominated me! But I am very grateful.
Please tell me about your book, Andee the Aquanaut Trilogy, Guardian of the Great Seas.
Andee is a young boy who lives on an island with his parents who are marine biologists. One day a great and frightening storm carries his parents out to sea in their dinghy. Searching for them along the shore, Andee is caught by a freak wave. Under the water he is saved by two dolphins he’d previously befriended, Tingo and Tango. He is carried to safety, an underwater home, where the dolphins become his new family. Here he discovers he is the chosen one, a legendary aquanaut with the purpose of saving the oceans and battling the evil queen Zadora who seeks to over-run the Water Spirit kingdom and the Lost City. He is given a super-suit that allows him to become the heroic warrior he is under water.
What was your inspiration for this story?
I’ve been a surfer for most of my life. I wanted to create a character that would appeal to younger children, to inspire them (and educate them) to help our oceans. One day, while considering a character to present to a toy manufacturer, the concept of the young Andee unfolded. It was up to me to bring him to life, which I believe I have done through the trilogy. I guess he is a part of me. His adventures and quests are challenging, which I love.
Tell me a little about the Aquanauts of the Marine Kingdom; the Lost City.
The legendary Aquanauts were warriors and protectors of the Lost City. The Lost City is an underwater paradise that was guarded for its resources. It was ruled by a compassionate merking (mermaid king). When the king lost his wife and became ill he remarried a mermaid named Zadora, unfortunately unaware of her evil intent. One weakness that the mermaids and men of the Marine Kingdom had was their lust for gold, a lust so strong it could turn the merpeople against one another. Zadora lived and breathed only to have it all for herself once she became queen. The Lost City is filled with gold, among other treasure, as well as cures for life-threatening illnesses. So, to protect his people from lust and greed, the king told them they would not be allowed to return to the Lost City, that they would be safe in the Marine Kingdom, no longer tempted by the gold. The Lost City was then protected by the aquanauts who, over time, disappeared. But, with Queen Zadora gaining more power as the king fell more ill, Andee was called to protect the Lost City from her malicious plan to overthrow the entire kingdom. He was once a legendary aquanaut; in the story he becomes the reincarnation of this former aquanaut self, although remaining in the body of a teenage boy.
What fascinates you the most about the ocean?
Everything; the landscapes, plants, marine mammals and, mostly, the undiscovered depths. Having seldom been down there, mankind can only imagine what exists beyond what we’ve already seen. That’s why I love it; with an imagination, anything could be possible until proven wrong!
How does Andee deal with a challenge he faces?
He has a strong sense of purpose and responsibility, and believes that his quests will bring him closer to finding his parents. He also falls in love with the king’s daughter, Yolanda. When she is under threat from the queen (spoiler alert) his motive to combat the evil queen Zadora becomes even stronger. So, yes, he deals with his challenges with love and a strong sense of purpose.
Is there a message you would like your readers to come away with after reading your story?
Always do the right thing, especially where the people and beings you care for are concerned. There is always a way to combat injustice, it just takes faith and courage. Once you put your intentions in the right place, you will start to see others begin to help you along your journey.
Will you please share an excerpt?
(Exert from Book One)
Andee and Yolanda swam into the Black Sea; the cold water was icy around their bodies. They saw a large reef covered in huge plants and seaweed, behind which they hid as they looked back in fear.
Zadora and the merman guards had also entered into the Black Sea and were searching for them. Their black hair flowed in the strong current as they held their spears raised, ready for attack.
The Black Sea was a cold and dangerous place for everybody. It was full of giant prehistoric sea life from hundreds and thousands of years ago. Andee and Yolanda hid in amongst the huge leafy plants. They hovered there holding onto the underneath of a huge leaf, swaying rapidly in the churning currents.
Zadora and the guards were getting closer, but they also had to be careful about the massive monsters lurking in the waters.
The water got very dark as the night was coming. It was getting more and more dangerous.
Suddenly the water lit up as giant dinosaur-monster eyes shone out like huge torches into the darkness. A huge roar through the sea broke the silence, and out of the blackness a dinosaur appeared. It surged through the water, chasing the smaller fish.
With its huge serpent-type head and long neck down to its humped back, it used its huge fins to plough through the water. Then, without warning, the serpent lurched forward and grabbed another huge monster fish in its mouth, biting the fish in half with one swift blow from its jaws.
Yolanda couldn’t help screaming, but Andee put his hand over her mouth to stop her just in time. As he did so he let go of the huge leaf that was keeping them hidden.
One of the merman guards caught a glimpse of them. He hissed and pointed with his spear.
“There!” he shouted.
Andee quickly pulled Yolanda out of the seaweed and swam away with all his strength. But just as he did so, the huge sea serpent spotted them. The serpent raced towards them, roaring with its huge mouth wide open.
“Swim! Andee!” Yolanda screamed.
Zadora and the guards hissed and grinned.
“Perhaps the serpent will do the work for us,” said Zadora. “Come on!” she shouted, and together they followed behind the massive sea monster.
Andee was swimming hard. “I can’t outswim him, Yolanda. He’s too fast. We must try and find somewhere to hide.”
Andee saw a small crevice in a rock below. ‘There’s only room for one person,’ he thought.
“I’m going down,” he said, “hold on tight. I can see somewhere for you to hide, Yolanda.”
Andee swooped down to the crevice and quickly dropped Yolanda inside. “You will be safe here,” he said.
“Andee…” Yolanda shouted, “…look out!”
Just as he turned he saw the huge sea serpent’s jaws just about to snap on him.
‘Use your suit,’ Andee suddenly heard a voice say. ‘Use your suit, Andee. Think and feel, and become one with your suit.’
Andee shot out of the way just as the serpent bit down hard.
Smash! The serpent got a mouthful of rock as Andee sped away. But the serpent then let out a roar and gave chase on him again.
Where can readers buy your books?
Via Amazon and Barnes n’ Noble. Not only can they read them, the books are available as audio books, too, also via Amazon.
How did you come up with the title?
I wanted an androgynous sounding name so both boys and girls could relate to the character, and I also wanted ‘Aquanaut’ in the title. So, the name Andee the Aquanaut was born. Indee (for girls mostly) arrives toward the end of book two. The names together ‘ring’ well.
Who designed your book cover?
Cover designs and illustrations are done by award-winning artist, Zoran Zlaticanin. We have an amazing working relationship. We are totally in tune with each other; I love working with him. In fact, I also named Andee’s sidekick (from book two) ‘Zoran, the dolphin’ after him.
A Message from indieBRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Simon James House who is the author of, Andee the Aquanaut Trilogy, Guardian of the Great Seas, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Andee the Aquanaut Trilogy, Guardian of the Great Seas, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.