Hen’s mum is missing but we don’t know why. Hen and Dad embark on a journey that will take you everywhere.
What’s in the box? Why did they open it? What led up to them being in that place with the box? Editor turned author, lapsed physicist and sometime Heart of Stroud guest writer (see page 18), Dmytro Bojaniwskyj pens novels from his Brimscombe home overlooking the Stroud valleys. He’s currently writing his fourth. He says he knew when he started writing that there were particular places and events which would be in the story and he worked outwards from there. In this way he found that the story starts with Missing, the first book in the Auriga Command series. I asked Dmytro why he began writing the series.
“Listening to readers in my son’s primary school gave me an idea of who wasn’t being served by the books which were available” Dmytro says. “I was frustrated that the books around for ‘intermediate age’ children at the time weren’t immediately relateable. The protagonists all seemed to have super powers or be ridiculously talented in some way. It seemed like everyone had to be a Chosen One. For me, my character, Hen, is an Accidental One, and not especially adept. I have it in mind that the only thing Hen is good at is knowing right from wrong – and this is where most of the dilemma comes from. Hen could be anybody. So I don’t give any information about Hen’s gender or ethnicity. Hen grows and develops as the story unfolds, dealing with themes of loss, belonging, looming threat, institutionalization, mental health and self-realization. I chose not to be limited in any way about what might happen. So each book shifts genres, morphing through family drama, emotional growth, adventure, action thriller, science fiction, historical drama, lost worlds and high fantasy.”
The series is about growing up. Hen begins as a dependent. Hen’s parents provide structure, normality and safety. As all these things are gradually stripped away, Hen has to self-create, find independence and grow until we reach the point where an older, more developed, autonomous Hen is forced to confront who Hen used to be. Many people can’t move on from the past. They might be nostalgic for it or hate it. Auriga Command reflects the challenges many of us face in our lives – and so it’s really a coming of age series.
“I received a really nice letter from a year 6 child. She was completely all over it” says Dmytro. “She had questions about the book which I enjoyed answering, and I sent her one of my sketches. I often draw characters as I write about them, to help me get to know them better.”
Dmytro tells me he aims to write ‘busy’ books as simply as they can be expressed. The vocabulary is accessible for primary school aged children – he even includes words donated by real children. What’s goozy? It’s something gooey and oozy of course! But the plot, themes, settings, characters and narrative are thoughtful and complex. And the inclusion of real places you might be familiar with, historical cameos and injections of real-world science help make the Auriga Command books completely immersive for children and adults alike.
Missing by Dmytro Bojaniwskyj is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk. Read it now and watch out for the next instalment!