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INTERVIEW


By the Dart INTERVIEW


SIMON GILMORE


AUTHOR OF ‘THE ADVENTURES OF MR HAWKINS ‘THE GOLDEN SECRET’’


adventure story about a character who has been known to his family for decades. Mr Hawkins the seagull, and the title character in Simon’s book ‘The Adventures of Mr Hawkins - ‘The Golden Secret’’, began life on the balcony of the house where he now lives in Dartmouth. He said, ‘My mother lived in this house since 1977 and one day when I staying with mum I came downstairs and heard her talking to someone out of the window. I was amazed to see she was feeding bits of bacon to a seagull that was taking it really gently, while she was stroking the back of its neck. ‘She said to me ‘would you like to meet Mr Hawkins – my friend. He comes here every morning.’ Over the years I created stories for my kids at bedtime about Mr Hawkins, the magical seagull. After mum passed away and I was down here on my own I looked out of the window one day and a seagull, which was sat in the tree by the balcony, looked over at me. I said ‘hello Mr Hawkins’ and decided then to put this story on paper.’


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Mr Hawkins is an adventure story about a 13-year-old boy called Tom Parker and a very special seagull, who meet in a seaside town not dissimilar to Dartmouth. At Mr Hawkins’ request they set off on a global race against time to retrieve the fabled ‘Sword of Isis’,


artmouth writer Simon Gilmore has penned a great


return it to its rightful owner and free the seagull’s friends from an evil tyrant.


Throughout this gripping page-


turner there are some fantastic themes of heroism, courage, honour and respect, and many messages to remind us of the difference between good and evil. Simon said, ‘I totally admire


courage, which comes in many different ways. It’s not just about going under a wire with a bayonet – it’s also the art of being the only one who knows that you’re scared


‘Every day I set myself a task – where the story’s going to go next – and I write until I get to that point.


to death.’ ‘I also wanted my characters to come to life and the story to have a strong message but be good fun too – there’s so much misery in the world that we all need a great adventure story in which to disappear.’ His readers – children, teenagers and adults alike - certainly agree and have loved the book. There has also been interest from head teachers for library copies, local book clubs and a BBC producer who sees potential for future filming of the story. Simon’s inspiration comes from the history and adventure stories he has


read since childhood. He has had many real adventures of his own to add to his


creativity. ‘My childhood hero was


the South Pole explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. I love reading about people who have done great things – intrepid people. Both my mother and father were intrepid people and I used to love sitting and listening to them with great admiration at what happened to them in the war.’ Simon was born in England and brought up in Benghazi, Libya and Singapore. His father was an officer in the Special Forces and his mother worked for the Foreign Office. It is clear that Simon has inherited his love of adventure from his father and his creativity from his mother. Simon’s mother, Eileen Gilmore,


lived in Dartmouth for 17 years and directed plays for the Dartmouth Players. Her grandparents started the national Benevolence Society for Performing Artists – now the Royal Variety charity.


Both his parents were highly accomplished sailors and his father was a Commodore. He said: ‘My father taught me to sail when I was seven. He was an expert skipper and won the Admiral’s Cup twice. Sailing is in my blood.’ After his father discouraged him


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