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Meet the Book: Emergency Rescue Angel

Emergency Rescue Angel

Cate Whittle (me!)

February 2020

Omnibus Scholastic

This is not a review of my own book!

What it is, is a reprint of a piece I wrote for Pass It On magazine a little while ago, to introduce ERA to readers.

I thought it might answer a few questions.

Where It All Began

Emergency Rescue Angel started off life as a seed of a thought that grew until a chance meeting with my publisher from Scholastic (at a gifted camp where I was presenting workshops!) and a brief conversation in between sessions, surrounded by beautiful serene bush.

Initially, she wasn’t too sure that an angel character would be appealing, but I assured her that my angel would be different – and so she is, a very ‘goth’ character with a bit of attitude.

‘Send me a draft,’ she said, and I did, although it took a while.

To begin with the reveal of the angel was a twist at the end, but word back from Scholastic was that they wanted my angel to play a more central role.

The next version involved giving scenes to Max, telling the story from her POV – some were completely new, others revised – so the story is now told from both characters’ viewpoints.

The new version was quickly accepted, and the next step was to go through a complicated editing process, where viewpoints chopped and changed, and elements were written out while others were enhanced, all beautifully coordinated by a very organised and talented editor who had also been my editor for the Trouble books. I don’t know how many colours we had going on the shared document with all the tracking in the end, but it was quite an experience working out what we had decided to keep and what had to go!

I think I may have caused some sleepless nights!

Nonetheless, I love his part of the process, where you take the raw material and shine and polish it into the gem it becomes! And working with an experienced editor is a real privilege.

Initially, the book was destined for release in November 2019, but the date was pushed back to February 2020. At first I was disappointed, but realised that this gave us more time to make sure we were putting forward the best version of the story. No rush. ERA was on the way!

My first view of the cover art left me breathless. It is gorgeous (take a close look at the angel wings – hold the cover up to the light and turn it around a bit – squeeeee!).

Plans for a big, exciting reveal and release were sidelined, though, as my mind was elsewhere over the end of 2019 and early days of 2020. Living on a beautiful bush block has its drawbacks – ours was a lack of water and some dreadful weather days!

Emergency Rescue Angel hit the bookshops in time for release on 1st February, and I’ve already had some good feedback.

Launch date is 15th March, at the fabulous Harry Hartog bookshop in Woden, ACT. I can’t wait!

More about the Story

I get asked all the time where I get my ideas, so I thought I would explain just what I was thinking (WARNING: insert reader advisory here) when I came up with this idea.

So here goes:

Have you ever wished you had an emergency rescue angel? I know I have. I’m even pretty sure I’ve had a few things happen in my life when one has turned up, just quietly, to help me through. Either that or my guardian angel works overtime!

Maybe, though, angels aren’t exactly what we think, maybe they come in disguise. I started to think about how angels might be just what we need them to be, when we need them, and I also started to think about all the different ways we could sometimes do with a bit of help.

Quite a few years ago, now, I knew a boy who had not only lost his father in an accident, but he had lost himself. His grief was never ending and it was intense, and we all wanted to help him through. There was nothing we could do that would change the tragedy that had come into his life, and we knew that no-one could ever fully understand his pain or, in fact, the grief of any other person.

What if, though… what if that somewhere, somehow there was something that would...

not exactly take that grief away – because that is not what any of us want, our grief is painful but it is also our own

...but would help us navigate that sort of pain?

I’m not sure about ‘angels’ – although as a child I prayed nightly to one that I called ‘Angel of God, Guardian so dear’ to keep me and mine safe (and maybe sometimes I still say that prayer) – but maybe those angels in our lives are a family member, a beloved friend, a goofy golden retriever… or maybe they are a spiritual being or something from another dimension.

Let’s believe just for a moment.

This book came out of that… a boy in grief, an angel, and how that might work out.

But this is me, so it also had to be light hearted, a tiny bit funny, and maybe not quite work out exactly how everybody had in mind. Not that grief is ever funny, but sometimes we forget that all behaviour is communication, and whenever we try to communicate there are misunderstandings. And misunderstandings can be… educational, amusing, and, um, dangerous (?).

What I want readers to get out of this book comes on two levels: one, just be entertained, and, two, think about how different people respond when life throws a curly one, and how we can just be there for them (and maybe wrap them up in our wings once in a while, metaphorically speaking, without trying to give them all the answers). And hovering above both those levels is an implicit message: you are not alone.

May your angel be there for you, whenever you need them, but in the meantime, here are Mitch and Max, and here is their story: Emergency Rescue Angel, written by me:

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