Review/Interview: Flight of the Tree Frog by Cameron Holt

Review/Interview: Flight of the Tree Frog by Cameron Holt

Hello everyone,

Literature is a form of therapy for both reader and writer. If I’ve dedicate hours of my day for my writing, I’m happy. Writing is my zen, it’s my way to unwind. It’s escapism and this is the same for readers. They can escape from the real world and forget about their problems, if only for a few moments. This is true no matter your creed, race, or in this instance age.

Last month, my friend, Cameron Holt published his first book, Flight of the Tree Frog. It follows the story of Fredric the Tree Frog as he learns to overcome his fear of heights. It is difficult being an emerging writer and Cameron very kindly supported me when I published my novel several years ago. Below you can find an interview regarding Flight of the Tree Frog, my review on the book and details on how you can buy your own copy.

Q: I’ve known you for over twenty years and I know your normal type of writing. Tree Frog is very different. Where did the idea of Tree Frog come from?

A: To be honest, there are a lot of influences! I’ve always liked the idea of two unlikely animals becoming friends with each other. It proves that appearances aren’t everything. My first story outline was actually quite a few years ago and involved a frog and a griffin going on adventures together, just because I thought it was a funny contrast. After working in a school, however, I realised I could turn it into a relatable story with a strong message about overcoming a fear. I suffer from severe anxiety in my daily life and I know from experience that it’s becoming a serious issue for children too, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. I wanted them to know that it’s possible to overcome such fears and that they can always talk to a trusted friend or family member. In terms of the writing style, I decided to go with present tense because it feels like the story is happening right now. If someone reads it to their kids, it can be pretty immersive!

Q: Are any of the characters based off anyone you (or I?) know?

A: Good question. I think all the main characters have aspects of my own personality, except for Professor Edwin. He represents how not to treat the natural world! Pretty much the complete opposite of me. I can’t say he was based on anyone else, either – he’s more of a personification of a concept. As for other characters? Well, the names of Fred’s family members may have been inspired by people I’ve met. I won’t say who, of course, but I thought it would be a nice tribute!

Q: How long did it take to write Flight of the Tree Frog? How long did the editing process take? I know you’ve been mentioning Tree Frog to me for some time now.

A: I think it was about six weeks for the actual writing! I created it as a story for my YouTube channel, which I’ve now deleted. I didn’t think the videos were the best fit for what I’d come up with. After that, my family encouraged me to turn it into a self-published book. I think that took over half a year, from the search for an illustrator to the final publishing date.

Q: Tell me about your publishing journey. What was that like?

A: Easier than I expected! I decided to self-publish on Amazon because they’ve been offering their services for years. They’re like a well-oiled machine. They have everything laid out in clear detail, including exact measurements for trim size and how to account for bleed. I thought the hardest part would be finding the right illustrator for the job, but even that turned out to be simple enough. I absolutely recommend self-publishing for those who want to get their writing out there.

Q: The illustrations in your books are wonderful. Who did them and how did you first get in touch?

A: The illustrator is Abigail Roscoe! I agree, their artwork is incredible. The style is exactly what I was looking for. The expressions, the colours, everything is so detailed. I found them on a website called Hireillo, where a great number of illustrators had posted their portfolios and contact details. I just messaged with a brief description of the story and what I was looking for, and they seemed to love the idea. They have a great passion for the environment, too, which gets a thumbs up from me. Honestly, they were so great to work with and I recommend them wholeheartedly.

Q: Flight of the Tree Frog follows the journey of a group of different animals. Why did you choose those animals in particular?

A: Well, for a start, I like frogs. I think they’re funny and cute. I always had the idea of him riding on another animal, and why not a little crocodile? You just wouldn’t expect it. As I said earlier, appearances aren’t everything. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend approaching a crocodile in real life. Please don’t do that! Melvin the howler monkey – well, I thought it would be good to have a mammal there with the ability to do things Fred and Chrissie couldn’t, such a lift a bag with his tail. I think he’s great. Jenny the tree frog is Fred’s cousin, and she’s there to show the support I hope children receive from their own family. And then there’s Sammy the flying squirrel. I needed a flying animal for Fred to ride on, and even though flying squirrels aren’t native to the Amazon, which Amazonia is based on, it was too cute of an image to pass up on.

Q: Do you plan to write another Amazonia book?

A: I definitely do. There were other characters I created for the YouTube channel I mentioned earlier, and I’d love to introduce them as well. Flight of the Tree Frog ends with a line that says this is only the beginning, and I can say with certainty that you haven’t seen the last of Fredric and company.

Q: What’s next now that you’ve published Tree Frog? What’s your next writing target?

A: Believe it or not, I’m working on a fantasy novel for adults! I’m just over a third of the way through. After that, I’ll work on the next Amazonia story. My target is to have both of those finished by the end of 2023, but we’ll see what happens!

If I had to describe the book in three words, they would be fear and kindness. Flight of the Tree Frog perfectly encapsulates how it feels to be a child facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge. It captures the essence of both doubt and youthful optimism. Of course, I recommend it to anyone who has a young child learning to read or even an adult who wishes to entertain their inner child.

You can purchase Flight of the Tree Frog from Amazon by clicking anywhere in this sentence.

I would also recommend checking out Cameron’s website, Cam’s Campfire by clicking anywhere in this line.

Finally Cameron has recently launched his Instagram account. Again, click in this sentence to see more.

Currently the paperback edition of Tree Frog is only £6.99.

Thank you for reading, please check out Flight of the Tree Frog and I’ll see you for my next post shortly.

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