Shoreham author hoping for national award

Chris Hannon
Chris Hannon

A novel featuring Shoreham is up for a national book award.

Orca Rising, a young adult novel written by Shoreham Beach author Chris Hannon, has been longlisted for the prestigious 2018 People’s Book Prize. The novel came out April 12 from Thistle Publishing and is the first book in a spy-thriller trilogy starring gifted teenager Ocean Daley, a 16-year-old resident of Shoreham Beach who gets recruited into a spy agency with mysterious aims.

The winner of the award will be decided by an online public vote. To support Chris and vote for Orca Rising head to www.peoplesbookprize.com where Orca Rising appears in the Children’s category. Voting takes only a few seconds and is open until mid-October.

Chris explains: “The book is a young adult spy novel about a teenager from Shoreham who becomes involved in a nefarious spy organisation.

“Orca Rising is the story of Ocean Daley, a clever, athletic 16-year-old, living a humdrum life with his mum and her annoying boyfriend until he is recruited to a mysterious spy agency. This is a suspenseful, action-packed YA novel, similar to the Alex Rider and Young Bond series.

“Ocean Daley needs to get away from school, his seaside town and wasting his summer working for his mother’s irritating boyfriend. When his mysterious Uncle Frank offers him a place at a summer school for a select group of gifted teens, he jumps at it.

“But the school isn’t like any other, with classes in hacking, bike racing, psychological tricks and combat. Orca, the secretive organisation behind the school, needs fresh recruits… but for what? Ocean’s father co-founded Orca, and joining the organisation feels like a way to honour his memory, as well as strengthen bonds with his strange uncle.

“Orca demands each teenager push themselves beyond the possible and in return each student gets an impressive salary, international travel and exhilarating field missions—a double life. There is one catch. Joining Orca is a life-binding commitment to support their noble cause. For Ocean, it’s the challenge in life he’s been looking for. Others might call it a trap…”

As Chris says, Ocean is a bit different. He avoids going out to Brighton and getting drunk and all the other things teenagers do: “He feels he is destined for something greater.”

The book is identifiably set in Shoreham: “It’s one of the reasons it came to me. I grew up in a small town, and I know a lot of teenagers can feel trapped by what they feel their life is. They feel there are endless possibilities, but they have still got to go to school and live with their parents. It’s one of the things that I wanted to explore in the book.”

Chris wrote his first book for his creative writing master’s degree at the University of Sussex: “It was good, but I felt it was not commercial. I did it just to move on from that. With this second novel, I sent it out to some agents and I got signed up by a literary agency.”

Chris sees Orca Rising as the start of a trilogy at the moment, while retaining the wriggle room to make it longer if he wants to: “But I do feel that a trilogy will give it a nice circular end point.”

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