Will they find the treasure or be captured by pirates?
When King Manuel of Oro announces his ten-year-old son’s crowning ceremony, Leo’s world crumbles. He doesn’t want to be a stuffy old prince! He wants to be free to have adventures, roam the kingdom, and spar with the crew of the royal navy.
Dreading the upcoming ceremony, Leo longs to have one final adventure before taking on his royal duties. His wish comes true when he accidentally stows away and the ship is taken over by pirates! He is furious when he discovers that his sister, Nina has followed him and is also trapped on board. But when Duke, a young pirate Leo’s age, warns them to flee the ship before they’re caught, they persuade Duke to join them.
The kids escape to a nearby island, discover a treasure map, and set out to find their riches. They brave the dangers of the jungle and angry pirates on this wild adventure seeking the island’s hidden treasure!
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I'd been reading so many princess books, that I felt the reluctant prince story needed to be told. What if a boy just wanted to have fun adventures? What if he didn't want to be a stuffy old prince? What if he accidentally stowed away aboard a ship that was overtaken by pirates? And so it Skerry Island was born.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters grew from the story. A reluctant prince. A not-so-pirating pirate. And a little tag-along sister. The three children off on a trek to find treasure, while being chased by pirates.
In the faraway kingdom of Oro, high above the harbor stood a palace. Blue flags with tall red ships watched over the royal navy. One bright day in the grand banquet hall, King Manuel smiled at his son as he announced, “Leo, now that you’re ten, we will have your crowning ceremony. Soon you’ll take on your royal title as prince and begin your royal duties.”
Leo sulked as his younger sister, Nina, squealed in delight. “Do I get to dress up? Will Leo get to wear a crown? I can’t wait to wear my crown some day!”
“You can have my crown,” Leo barked.
Queen Elena scowled at her son while patting her daughter’s hand. “Of course, Dear! After all, a crowning ceremony is a royal celebration. And Leo will also wear a special outfit.”
Nina bounced in her chair, “I want to wear a sparkly gold dress!”
“Gross,” Leo moaned. He didn’t want to be a prince, wear a special outfit or have royal duties. He stared at a plate piled high with his favorite breakfast food. Even the smell of bacon pie couldn’t wash away Leo’s misery.
Nina waved her arms above her head, she was so excited that her bracelet fell onto the floor. “My magic bracelet!”
Leo rolled his eyes, “It’s not magic, it’s just a dumb bracelet.”
“Mom!” Nina wailed as she hopped off her chair to get her bracelet.
“Leo, it is magic, it helps her sleep. Anything that helps Nina sleep at night is magic in my book,” the queen said.
* * *
After breakfast, Leo and his black lab, Shadow, climbed up to the highest tower. He threw open a tall window. As far as he could see was his soon-to-be kingdom, a boring kingdom. Shortly he would reign over all the land: the farmer’s fields, the cottages along the road to Silverdale, and even the harbor where the tall ships docked. All of his childhood playgrounds would soon be his to serve rather than his to enjoy.
He imagined his boring life to come. He didn’t want to sit on the throne all day and listen to arguments. But what he dreaded most of all, was a life doomed to kissing the hands of visitors. Yuck! Leo stuck out his tongue. He would rather practice sword fighting with the crew of the royal navy. “Come on, Shadow. Let’s go for a run to the harbor. That will cheer me up.”
Shadow wagged his tail.
When Leo turned to leave, Nina was sitting at the top of the stairs. “What are you doing here?”
Nina twirled a lock of hair around her finger. “Just seeing what you’re up to. That’s all.”
“Why are you always following me!?” Leo pushed past his sister and said, “Leave me alone, Ninny!” With Shadow at his heels, Leo rushed down the steps.
“Stop calling me Ninny!”
* * *
Outside the castle walls, Leo looked back at the flags high atop the tower. He imagined the ships on the flags taking him away on an adventure.
Leo and Shadow took off on their run. Soon they reached Silverdale. The townsfolk would recognize Leo, but he wasn’t in the mood to greet anyone, so he cut through the alley beside the tavern.
At the end of the alley, something caught the sun’s rays. Shadow ran ahead and picked up a spoon.
“No, Shadow,” Leo scolded.
But his dog didn’t listen. Shadow ran away and disappeared into the fields next to town. Leo wasn’t worried. Shadow would return to the castle and bury his treasure like he did many times. Once, Leo found a silver bowl in his bed!
Leo slowly shuffled through the alley alone, not wanting to think about his crown or his royal duties. Since he was young, he’d dreamed of joining the royal navy and sailing away on adventures. But that was not to be.
When Leo turned toward the harbor, a hairy-tailed dragon sprite darted in front of him. The bright blue creature had a dragon’s body with a hairy tail full of spikes and the face of an elf. Legend said that if someone grabbed a sprite by the tail, then that person will be granted a wish. That’s it! If I can catch it, he will grant my wish! Then I can have a final adventure before I have to wear that dumb crown.
Leo chased the sprite down the stone street passing stores and merchants. The sprite was only half as tall as Leo, so its steps were shorter, but it was faster.
Leo wanted his wish so badly, he ran faster than he’d ever run to catch that tail. The sprite turned into a grassy field and Leo turned with him. He got within a step of the sprite and reached out to grasp the end of its tail, but fell flat on his face.
The sprite turned and laughed, “Thought ye’d get my tail, did ye? Not today, lad, not today.” He tucked his head behind his back, like a bird cleaning himself.
The sprite must have an itch. This was Leo’s opportunity. He jumped to his feet, surprising the sprite and chased him, this time getting closer than ever. He reached out to grab the tail, knowing the pain to come. Spikes were hidden by all that blue hair, making it nearly impossible to grab. But grab Leo did and screamed in pain.
The sprite surrendered and laid down with his yellow belly showing. “You surprise me, lad, didn’t think ye had it in ye. Now what can I get ye for?”
Leo thought carefully about how to word his wish. He’d heard of people who asked for a ton of gold, and then they were buried by it. He didn’t want to make that mistake. “I wish for an exciting journey. Before I get my crown. I want to go on an adventure.” With his hands still stinging, he threw in, “With my hands healed!”
The sprite considered the request. “Let me be. I need to stand for this wish.”
Leo let go of his tail and the sprite jumped to his feet and waved his arms as if he was the conductor of a band.
Leo was skeptical. He wasn’t sure he would actually get his wish from this little guy.
“The journey of a lifetime is what ye seek. Careful what ye wish for, this could be bleak. Adventure could be merry or could be scary when you’re knocked off your feet.”
Leo frowned. He didn’t believe the sprite was doing anything to grant his wish. This sprite makes no sense, he’s not magical!
“Your wish be granted.”
Leo felt no different. “Well?”
“Well what, lad?”
“I’m still here. I haven’t been sent on my exciting journey.” Leo’s shoulders drooped. He had heard of stories of people getting their wishes from sprites, but now he knew it was all hooey.
The sprite ran away and yelled over his shoulder, “Oh ye will. Ye will, so be on yer way.”
Leo felt cheated and on top of that his hands stung. He rubbed them against his coat, while he continued on his journey to the harbor. Maybe some of the men of the royal navy had time to spar with him.
Hoot N. Holler is a daughters/mother writers/illustrator team. Hoot, the funny one spends her free time scribbling green and purple ink all over Holler’s words. N., the illustrator, is completely immersed in Tamriel. Holler is aptly named; especially during a UMD game.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy Skerry Island: The Prince and the Pirate Book One Print Edition at Amazon
Link to Buy Skerry Island: The Prince and the Pirate Book One Print Edition at Barnes and Noble
Links to Purchase eBooks
This book is available in Kindle Unlimited: No
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