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Coquitlam author to donate royalties this year to BC Children's Hospital

A book about an orphan who sails the high seas in the 18th century is now for sale — with 100 per cent of its proceeds this year going to the BC Children’s Hospital.

A book about an orphan who sails the high seas in the 18th century is now for sale — with 100 per cent of its proceeds this year going to the BC Children’s Hospital.

Coquitlam author Trevor Atkins released his début historical novel, The Day the Pirates Went Mad, this spring and re-announced the charitable component this month.

His family has a tradition of donating to the hospital for sick kids: For years, they’ve given part of the royalties from their educational games, published play and crafts.

Geared to middle school students, the story started as a short tale for his daughter, who is now in Grade 8, but it evolved to an “educational vehicle” in a book form.

At 244 pages plus a teacher’s guide, the self-published fictional tale follows young Emma Sharpe as she pens a letter to her parents in prison about her inaugural voyage to the Zanzibar Archipelago in the early 1700s.

The reader then sees her leave again — with a progressive captain at the helm who takes Emma under his wing — for the West Indies, where she and the cabin boy, Jack Randall, discover a cursed pirates’ treasure from a ship wreck.

Talk aboard their boat about what to do with the jewels becomes heated.

“The theme is greed and wealth versus the value of family and friends,” Atkins told the Tri-City News. “They find out that they’re rich because they have each other.”

Atkins tapped Jon Merchant to illustrate the novel with chalk- and charcoal-like line drawings that would be similar to what Emma would create in her travel journal.

Available through Western Sky Books in Port Coquitlam, Kinder Books in New Westminster and amazon.ca, The Day the Pirates Went Mad is also part of the White Pines Collection at the Port Moody Public Library, which highlights the work of local authors.

Atkins said he plans to turn his pirates’ adventure into a trilogy.