We caught up with Thomas Gray. At the age of 12 he has already published his first book during lockdown. “I’ve always been into wildlife and nature, but the real catalyst for change was when I moved to the countryside, and saw its wide range of opportunities”. The Great Lockdown of 2020 was a fantastic opportunity for Thomas to spend more time following, watching and photographing badgers. His keen interest in these animals inspired him to capture their activities, habitat and behaviour. He turned his resulting nature notes into Badgers in a Time of Corona, a story which follows the activities of two badger setts in local woodlands.
Badgers in a Time of Corona
Thomas explains how he has always been interested in the English Language. Taking inspiration in his creative writing from his primary school books which would be crammed with stories of explorations, dinosaurs & monsters, to name but a few. “I suppose me liking badgers and writing seemed a good option for creating a book”, he goes onto points out.
For his new book “‘Badgers in a Time of Corona”, Thomas explains how he methodically read each part a little bit at a time. “I knew very well what it contained, (though obviously it was spell checked and edited before it got printed)”. Whilst most people have heard of the badger, the writer highlights how the majority of the time they’ve seen one, is when it’s sprawled out, lifeless, on the side of a main road. Pointing to the reality that a miniscule amount of people have genuinely seen badgers outside their sett and on their own terms.
While writing BADGERS IN A TIME OF CORONA, Thomas recalls WORD telling him not to use Passive voice. Highlighting that he chose not to listen as he felt his sentences were more “wholesome” and fairly long while using that technique. “I don’t really like to hear too many short sentences when it is unnecessary, for they didn’t feel smooth, and didn’t flow with the text as nicely as I’d like them too”.
The book itself is described as a narrative journal (non-fiction). With around 60-70 entries, including a hopeless night out, when Thomas invited his friend from a neighbouring village, he recalls. Thomas hopes that in writing this book, he can inspire those reading his journal to think of the badger as something to admire, rather than loathe.
Creative Writing Fundamentals
For Thomas, what has been key to his development is reading good books. Whilst admittingly he can go on about the fundamentals of writing, using good adjectives, nice description, he feels reading good literacy will hold you in good stead. Providing a wide range of good adjectives, etc, to learn from. For the young writer reading will open your mind, and if creative writing is what you want to do, then by doing so, you’ll gain knowledge of how to write smoothly, creatively, and uniquely. In short, the more books you read, the better your writing will be.
As a massive fan of Watership Down, the young writer is onto his next creative writing adventure. Set in rural Hampshire, about a clan of badgers with two horrid troublemakers within their mists. #watchthisspace