Ride the latest wave with Samantha Bell, author of The Girl Who Saved the Ocean.

April 21st, 2023

About me

 Hello! I’m Samantha, and I’m the author of The Girl Who Saved The Ocean.

A quick introduction to me; I’m 30, living in Bristol currently but I’m from Dorset originally. I love spending time outdoors, particularly days at the beach, as well as reading, keeping active in some way, and exploring new cities and countries.

 I am passionate about the environment and wrote The Girl Who Saved The Ocean to help educate children about plastic pollution in the ocean, and also to get them excited about how they can make a difference.

 My inspiration to write The Girl Who Saved The Ocean came from reading about different charities and the amazing work they do through protecting the ocean, whether that is through organising beach cleans, raising money or organising petitions to drive change. I wanted to help contribute to this cause in some way, and I thought that this would be a fun, creative but also important way of doing this.

 I decided that my book should be a fun way of getting children involved in this important cause. I also decided that I wanted The Girl Who Saved The Ocean to donate a percentage of profits towards some inspirational charities. 

 About The Girl Who Saved The Ocean

 The book is centred around a girl who loves surfing, and has lots of friends in the sea, but she doesn’t have many friends on the sand. One day one of her sea friends gets caught in plastic, and she has to find her voice to be able to save her friends by gathering people on the beach to make them aware of the problem and organise a beach clean.  The book is about plastic pollution, but it also is about friendship, bravery and empowerment.

 A percentage of profits will be donated towards local ocean protecting charities, who are doing amazing things to keep the ocean and beaches clean.

 A percentage of profits will also be donated towards The Wave Project. This is an amazing charity who are truly inspirational. Surfing has been recognised as an incredible way to improve your mental health, in adults and children. This charity aims to improve children’s mental health and well-being through surfing therapy.

 I have definitely felt the benefits of surfing myself. It’s not something that I ever did when I was younger despite living close to the beach. But since meeting my partner who loves surfing, I have been a lot with him and I love it! It would be amazing if this became more accessible to more people who are willing to give it a try. In Bristol there is now The Wave which is a inland surf experience (a manufactured wave), which is amazing. I can imagine in the future there will be more of these popping up in different cities, making surfing more accessible to children and adults who don’t live close to a beach.  So I also partly wrote this book to get more children interested by surfing as well.

 About the Illustration process

Once I had the idea for the book, and I had written a draft, I contacted my friend Toria.  I grew up with Toria in Dorset, we were best friends at school. Toria is a primary school teacher and children’s book illustrator, she is extremely talented! One of my book dedications was to Toria, as without her I definitely wouldn’t have had the courage to actually go through with finding a publisher. She was super enthusiastic about the book and the concept and offered to do the illustrations. She had some amazing ideas about all the characters which she drafted and then we sent these along with the book draft to Little Steps. 

 We then went through the storybook process with the editor (Tasha) and designer (Verity) at Little Steps, together we made a great team!

 My Younger Years

 When I was younger, I always loved reading. I still love reading today, and I really read a range of different books but I tend to stick to fiction.

 When I was younger, I used to love books by Judith Kerr, such as The Tiger Who Came To Tea and Mog The Forgetful Cat. I also loved all of Roald Dahl’s books, such as Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Both of these authors had such great imagination which I loved when I was younger.  I then moved into loving Enid Blyton’s books, the Famous Five series. I absolutely loved this series of books and read so many of them, I loved all of the adventures which the children would go on. I imagine if I picked up one of these now I would still really enjoy it!

 I used to love the Harry Potter series, I would race to the bookstore whenever a new copy was out. I also adored Jacqueline Wilson and read every single one of her books. I feel like with Jacqueline Wilson I really grew up with these, reading the books aimed at a younger audience initially and then continuing to read these as the books developed to more teen targeted books.

 I also really liked the Lemony Snicket series of unfortunate events. I liked how this was an unusual concept, and slightly dystopic (a genre I still enjoy today!)

 What’s the best piece of advice you would give to young writers?

 I would say if you have an idea, just start to make notes and start writing it. Starting is always the hardest. This is what I did, I had an idea for the book, noted some ideas down and then whenever I had a chance I kept editing it. The whole process of writing for me took a while, I just kept editing it whenever I had a chance. Don’t be afraid to share it with friends and family as well, what’s the worst that can happen! I was most nervous when sharing it with children in the family, because as you will know children are always very honest! But the ones I shared it with loved the story so that gave me more confidence.

 When I submitted the draft to Little Steps, it had gone through several of my own iterations and just needed some final tweaks around wording and general flow. But I think if you have an idea and just have a very beginning of a draft, you could also submit this as I’m sure Little Steps and other publishers would be interested if they like the story and general concept.

 To summarise, I’d say starting and sharing is always the most daunting. Make a start and don’t be afraid to share it with people for feedback.
Share this article...

Tags: author, book, children, children's book, animals, mental health, picture book

Comments (0)

No comments have been submitted yet.
Why not be the first to send us your thoughts

Leave A Comment

Submit Comment

Thank you for your comments,
they will appear shortly once approved.
Content Managed by Little Steps Publishing - Illustrations by Celeste Vlok - Website Crafted by Scaws