Jack Noddings, a Brighton based writer, is launching ‘Way and the Witch’ in time for Halloween with 30% of every copy being donated to Rockinghorse Children’s Charity.
Jack has loved writing ever since he was a child, often creating mini episodes of his favourite television shows such as Round the Twist and Due South, and as an adult has written in a semi-professional capacity for the last ten years, working with the BBC, Channel 4 and Comedy Central.
But this year he decided to turn his attention to writing a series of books aimed at 9-11-year olds based in and around his hometown. As Jack explains: “I wanted to write something that was loud and full of energy with fun characters, but also had a lot of heart. I like finding ways to write emotional stories in exciting ways.
“I also wanted to write about Brighton in the same way some of my favourite books, films, and TV shows are set in places like New York or LA or London. Brighton is so cool, has so many different parts and such a character. It’s a very unique place and it was fun to write about it.”
And so, Way and the Witch was created, with their first adventure, Giggling Zombies in Brighton, being launched on 12 October.
A great adventure
The book follows the adventures of Way, an ordinary 11-year-old from Brighton, who accidentally releases a witch called Stella from a magic box. But Stella isn’t the only thing inside… By opening the box, Way unleashes the most dangerous kind of unwelcome magic: Wild Enchantments. So, it’s up to Way and Stella to recapture the Wild Enchantments before they destroy Brighton.
The story takes place all around Brighton with mentions, amongst others, of Elm Grove Primary School, Brighton Pride and The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital. Jack included the children’s hospital as he had first-hand experience of being treated there in the mid-80s.
As Jack explains: “I was born with club foot on both feet in September 1985 and had five operations up until the age of four, which corrected the shape of my feet, so they didn’t bend inwards.
“My parents were told there would be a big chance I wouldn’t be able to walk. But the reason I can is because of the treatment and post treatment I received at the Alex, which included lots of physio and speciality shoes. I wore the shoes until I was nine or so. I hated them – they were big chunky boots. I think that’s why I’m kind of obsessed with trainers now! But having club foot hasn’t really affected me. I played a lot of sports when I was younger, I even played a sport called Fives for England when I was 14 (it’s like squash but with your hands).”
And this experience is partly why Jack chose to support Rockinghorse by donating a portion of the profits of his first book: “Rockinghorse is such great cause and I loved the idea of being able to raise money for the charity with Way And The Witch.
“I wanted the book to be full of as many Brighton references as possible and Rockinghorse is a Brighton landmark. People know it and trust it and it’s been around for so long. And because this is a children’s book, I wanted it to be a children’s charity.”
Great local links
Hollie Tresize, Schools and Community Fundraising Manager at Rockinghorse, think this is a great way to encourage young people to get into reading along with supporting the charity: “Having a book that’s set around your home town, with lots of local references, is a great idea and one which will hopefully appeal to lots of children throughout the city.
“It’s really generous of Jack to offer this kind of support to us, especially at the moment, and we really hope the book appeals to all those zombie hunters out there! We are really looking forward to working with Jack in the future and can’t wait to read his next adventure.”
In the coming months Jack is planning on releasing more of Way and Stella’s adventures: “My plan is to release a new book every two months, the next one at Christmas, and in every story Way and Stella will have to recapture a Wild Enchantment.
“There will always be a link between the adventures and something going on in Way’s life. In the first book, it’s all about being okay with yourself, but every book will deal with an emotional problem in a fun way that I hope readers will relate to.”
To pick up your own copy of Jack’s first book, head over to his website at: https://wayandthewitch.com/