Author, Library Worker, Twitch Streamer
The first time James McCann visited Finn Slough in Richmond, BC, he knew he’d found something special.
“It felt like I’d gone back in time,” he says of the almost 150-year-old fishing settlement. “This place inspired my next book.”
Finn Slough, a series of wooden houses on stilts built over a slough on the Fraser River in Richmond BC, is a rich community of artists and long term residents. McCann was welcomed by one resident on a rainy afternoon for a tour of the private residents’ area when he was researching his book.
“I was standing on the bridge looking over the Slough as the rain started falling. Two swans were swimming towards the river and the sun was breaking through the clouds over the houses. Then one of the residents was returning home from grocery shopping when I asked if I could have a tour. He was so happy to show me around and offer me a history of the place. I knew then that my instincts were right: this place needed to be my next book.”
The Three Spartans
McCann set to writing the sequel of his successful The Three Spartans novel, a story of a Canadian boy, Art Demus, spending the summer at his family cottage in Birch Bay, Washington. In the Three Spartans, Art and his best friend Lea Nidas wage a paintball contest with their nemesis Zeke over a treehouse.
“It’s a modern day parody of the battle of 300 between the Spartans and the Persians,” McCann says. “It’s about overcoming incredible odds to fight for what’s right.” He wrote it for grades 4-6.
A Spartan at Sea
In the sequel, Art is all set to spend the last few weeks of summer in Birch Bay with his best friend Lea Nidas. But his plans change when he learns his nemesis Zeke is involved in a plot to tear down Finn Slough. Art’s aunt and her girlfriend Jordana live in Finn Slough, a unique community near Stevenston, B.C. made up of wood homes on stilts. Zeke’s scheme starts with a dragon boat race.
Art goes to Finn Slough to convince the local dragon boat hero to enter the race only to discover his mission is close to impossible. The dragon boat hero, Teejay, has no interest in competing.
Art considers giving up, but when he learns Jordana is dying, he has another reason to save the slough. Art has to draw on all his leadership skills—and gain some paddling skills—if he’s going to succeed. Much like the Spartans in the Battle of Salamis, Art and his new Finn Slough friends are at a disadvantage, but with some cunning they still may triumph.
McCann Knows Books
McCann knows books well. “I worked for Vancouver Kidsbooks for over a decade,” during which time he published two books with Simply Read Books and a novel with Orca Book Publishers. “After going back to school, I worked for the Richmond Public Library for eight years. I’m now working at the West Vancouver Memorial Library in the tech department.”
A Spartan at Sea, published by Crwth Press, is his sixth published book and he hopes to write more. When he isn’t working in the library, he’s a Twitch streamer and Dungeons and Dragons player. He also teaches workshops on creative writing and using computer coding to make text-based interactive games. You can learn more from his website, http://www.jamesmccann.info