The tale of a rascal raven in Ramsgate has been published by Thanet writer Peter Erlam.
The 69-year-old, who was a Kent Messenger news editor for 6 years, says the move to Ramsgate three years ago inspired him to pen children’s tale Ravi the Brainy Raven.
The dad-of-two said: “When my wife passed away in 2008 and my girls had moved I decided to move to Whitstable. I found moving to the coast after living in a town (Maidstone) got the creative juices going. I thought there was a book in me somewhere.
“Then I moved to Ramsgate and that really made me focus. There’s something about Ramsgate, it has stories in its bones and those bones just need fleshing out with interesting fictional character such as Ravi.”
The tale is based on brainy raven Ravi who gets himself expelled from the Tower of London for bad behaviour and ends up in Ramsgate. He then befriends two young sisters and when their schoolfriend disappears after a fall down a cliff, it is Ravi who emerges as the hero. After his shameful dismissal from the royal tower, it is redemption time for the rascal raven.
Peter said: “Being a bird he can, of course, fly and see places in a way no human can and gives a narrative for young readers to use their imagination.”
The book was a lockdown project and the pandemic features as Ravi and the crows are puzzled by the change in people’s behaviour.
The tale also features a wicker basket of gifts for the two sisters which is born of a real-life family tradition.
Peter said: “’Basket night; is a much-loved family tradition that goes back to my daughters’ childhood days. We had a four-storey house and the girls were in the attic room which they loved.
“On Friday nights we decided we would have a bit of peace and quiet so we would ring a bell and put out a little blue basket that they had to come down and get and take it back upstairs. Then they would stay upstairs for the rest of the night! It was a wicker basket which we flled with sweets.”
The book features numerous Ramsgate locations and references to changing covid restrictions as well as lovely illustrations by Jo Knowles.
It is hoped the book will be stocked by Ramsgate’s Moon Lane book shop in Addington Street and Peter says he would like a percentage of the sales money to go towards the campaign to finish the town’s George IV statue which was created by sculptor Dominic Grant who passed away last year.
Peter added: “I’m now working on the sequel to Ravi and this will be based in Ramsgate too, I really want to shine a spotlight on the town and its history.”