GENRE: Middle Grade Fiction,YA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ BLURB: Two young dinosaurs from opposite sides of the floodplain bump into each other by chance. He’s a small meat-eater, and she’s a big plant-eater. They’ve got no parents, no food, no friends. They’re supposed to be enemies, but they decide to stick together instead. It’s not easy. When she gets caught with him, she ends up banished from her herd. He faces a huge rival who could stomp him out with one back foot. They have to outsmart a gang of bullies with sharp teeth and long, curved claws. And they struggle to survive the natural disasters of drought, mudslides and a bubbling tar pit. Worst of all, when they lose contact with each other, they fear betrayal. What if their friendship has been broken?
He had to get out. There was no more room for him inside his egg. The top of the shell had a small crack, so he pushed his snout against it and made a large enough opening to finally poke his head free. He stopped to catch his breath, but his feathers were wet, and the air made him shiver. As soon as possible, he needed to get into the sun to warm up. He quickly smashed the bottom of the egg by scratching at it with his back claws, then he wiggled all the way out. What a relief it was to uncurl his legs and stretch out his tail. Dark green eggs, just like his, filled the nest. So far, he was the only little dinosaur to hatch. But maybe there were others beyond the wall of his nest. He had to take a look. By reaching high with his hands, he was able to hook his fingers into the dried mud of the rim. His arms were so skinny he could see the shape of his bones under the skin, but he found the strength to pull himself up. His legs wobbled a bit, then they settled, and he stood for the very first time. “Anybody there?” he called out. No one answered. He was alone. And he was surrounded by water. His nest sat on an island in the middle of a shallow lake. At least it had been built on top of a mound of earth, so it seemed safe. All was quiet except for the rippling of the small waves.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Trygg The Dinosaur is a story of forbidden friendship between two young dinosaurs. They face the same challenges that kids have today, except that the characters are based on real dinosaurs that I actually met. Well, I actually encountered their fossils. I had the great privilege of directing the science documentary “DINOSAUR BABIES: THE NORTH AMERICAN STORY.” The video is available here for download: https://www.amazon.com/DINOSAUR-BABIES-North-American-Story/dp/B0041TX8WS/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Dinosaur+Babies+the+North+American+story&qid=1630352284&s=instant-video&sr=1-1
During the filming, Dr. Jack Horner, the real paleontologist behind the “Jurassic Park” film character, took our crew out to the protected Badlands to show us the remains of a Troödon nest. (Trygg is a Troödon, a meat-eater with long arms and clawed hands.) Dr. Horner told us that “this is the actual rim of the nest. The dinosaur piled up some sediment, and the clutch of eggs was in the centre of it. The Troödon would be laying the eggs, and manipulating them with their little hands.” My heart wouldn’t stop pounding. That nest, which had turned to stone, had been there for about 75 million years. What if just one of those eggs laid so long ago had hatched and made it out of the nest before a mudslide buried everything? How would that little Troödon survive all by himself? What if he found a friend “from the opposite side of the floodplain”? What if she was five times his size and only ate plants? Most importantly, how could they help each other if they could never be seen together?
The fossilized nest that real dinosaur parents built long ago became the beginning of my fiction story of Trygg and his friend Alta the Hypacrosaur (whose egg and buried nest was also found.) Kids are telling me that they can’t put down the story of Trygg and Alta, so writing the book has been a small way to bring them back to “life”.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write?
I have a skinny little office in the front of our house. It has two windows that open directly onto our front yard. The lower one is at the level of visiting kids, chatty humans and cats. The advantage is that the windows turn completely in, something that our neighbor’s cat figured out long ago. All he has to do is jump up on the ledge and look me straight in the eye. If I’m not paying attention (because I’m trying to write), a loud meow or a quick paw scratch on the window quickly gets me to open things up and let him in. After a nice bowl of milk, he’s back off through the window. Sometimes he says thanks and lets me scratch his head. Sometimes he just runs off in an offensive, impolite manner. But I always let him in the next time he asks. If I’m lucky, he becomes my inspiration for a demanding animal character I’m working on. So he’s definitely part of something I need in order to write.
What do you like to read?
I love books for middle grade readers where the main character(s) are young people (or young animals) who must overcome huge obstacles in order to succeed, and often to survive. They use their wits; they round up their friends; they deal with fear and insecurity. I can’t help but root for Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield”, and Katherine Applegate’s “The One and Only Ivan” (a giant gorilla who shares his innermost thoughts with us). And when the story takes place somewhere new or foreign to us, part of the joy is seeing the characters make it through in the same way kids do today, even if they live just down the street. Or maybe they’re homeless and down the street, like Susin Nielsen’s young protagonist in “No Fixed Address”. Even dinosaurs that lived 75 million years ago can have their own book about staying loyal to each other in spite of what the rest of the herd thinks.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Just do it. If you’ve got an idea, write it down. Keep a notebook to jot down partial thoughts. Test your drafts out on your target audience. Kids will let you know immediately if you’ve caught their interest. (If you haven’t, they’ll just walk away.) Listen to their advice and their criticisms. If they don’t understand a certain passage, you have to do it over. So rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And if the emotional climax of your story still gets your own heart thumping after your long list of rewrites, then you know that you’ve done it right.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Paula Louise Salvador has had great adventures as a documentary film maker and writer. The scariest was when she stood under the ribs of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton – in the dark! The most fun was filming dinosaur dig-sites from a helicopter. On the dangerous side, she had to dodge alligators in Mississippi – and keep all fingers and toes out of the water.
Paula has met fascinating people, particularly jazz legend Oscar Peterson and composer Philip Glass, who performed in her show on electronic music.
In “BUILD GREEN” for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “THE NATURE OF THINGS”, Paula and Dr. David Suzuki visited rock star Randy Bachman’s super sustainable house. (He played his guitar for us.)
Finally, it was a tiny dinosaur that captured Paula’s heart. For her documentary “DINOSAUR BABIES The North American Story”, Paula held the fossilized egg of a little Troödon. He was curled up inside, just about to hatch. (His leg bones looked like a chicken’s.) That’s where Paula’s story of Trygg begins.
Paula has a Masters in French Literature from l’Université de Provence, France and a Bachelor of Arts (including Children’s Literature) from McGill University, Canada.
CONNECT WITH PAULA
WEBSITE: https://tryggthedinosaur.com/ TWITTER: https://twitter.com/PSalProductions INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/paulalouisesalvador/?hl=en LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paula-louise-salvador-44b92711/ FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/paula.salvador.31521
AMAZON https://amazon.com/dp/0228813247 KINDLE https://amazon.com/dp/B07NBRSMS7 BOOKSHOP https://bookshop.org/books/trygg-the-dinosaur/9780228813248 INDIGO CHAPTERS https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/trygg-the-dinosaur/9780228813248-item.html BARNES & NOBLE https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trygg-the-dinosaur-paula-louise-salvador/1130452141 BOOK DEPOSITORY https://www.bookdepository.com/Trygg-The-Dinosaur-Paula-Louise-Salvador/9780228813248 RAKUTEN KOBO https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/trygg-the-dinosaur SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/921088 APPLE BOOKS https://books.apple.com/us/book/trygg-the-dinosaur/id1451360457 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~