Sci-Fi and Fantasy With a Paranormal Edge

Sharks for Christmas ~ Guest Post from John Hope

Sharks! Often, the terror of the ocean. One of the greatest fears of mankind is being eaten alive, especially underwater, whose darkened mysteries can tickle the imagination, conjuring up horrific and frightening scenarios. But consider this: in the past sixty years there have been 2,785 confirmed shark attacks throughout the world, yet in the past year alone about 100,000,000 sharks have been killed by people. Makes you wonder how much sharks fear humans.

When I was a kid, I loved sharks. Every time I’d visit the public library, I’d dash to Dewey Decimal section 597.3­­­––the shark books. Even as a kindergartener when reading was still new, I’d carefully flip through the pages, my eyes raking over the deep blue photos like a fat kid in a bakery window. At night, I pictured myself swimming with sharks or sometimes being a shark myself, majestically gliding through the ocean in search for my prey. Being a small, quiet kid, I’d slip away from my mother’s hand in the mall and carefully weave through the unsuspecting shoppers like a trolling tiger shark selecting the perfect victim.

My biggest problem with finding more shark literature to appease my cravings was fiction. The nonfiction books were great. They cut to the chase and focused on what was cool about sharks.The fiction books that had sharks, however, always showed the sharks in anegative light. They were the bad guys, the daemons, the evil presence that ourheroes had to eradicate. The more I learned about sharks and how cool theywere, the more this bothered me. Why couldn’t sharks be the good guys? I wantedto root for the sharks, not against them.

As a writer, I finally got my chance.

Silencing Sharks, my first and likely NOT my last shark novel, portrays sharks as the good guys. In this book, the main character, Peter lives in a silent world. Thirteen, deaf, and tormented by neighborhood bullies, Peter seeks solace in summertime snorkeling outings with his eccentric Viking-horn-helmeted Uncle Sverrir. But after a dangerous encounter with a giant hammerhead predator, Peter discovers he has a unique gift; he can talk to sharks.

Peter quickly learns that the sharks near his Florida home are being mysteriously killed off. They need his help. Thrust into a scary but exciting adventure, both above — and below — water, Peter is distressed to learn that his dad, a chef, is connected to the crime — being blackmailed by his boss to cook up illegal shark-fin soup. Peter sets himself  the daunting task of saving both the sharks and his father, butto do so, he must rely on the very bullies who have tormented him.

This is the book I’d been searching for my entire childhood. As a young boy, I would have loved this story. In it, the main boy swims and works together with sharks to fight off the real bad guys –– thieving, money-grubbing adults. In the process, I get to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Book available here: www.johnhopewriting.com

John Hope is an award-winning short story, children’s book, middle grade, young adult, and nonfiction writer. His work appears in paperback, hardback, audiobook, and short story collections. Mr. Hope, a native Floridian, loves to travel with his wife, Jaime, and two kids. He enjoys suffering through long distance runningadventures with his friend Ben Brown. He gives informational and inspirationalpresentations to schools, writing groups and clubs, and various conferences.And in his spare time, he sings in his car. 

Sharks for Christmas ~ Guest Post from John Hope

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