Summary from Goodreads
In the thrilling final part of The SeaBEAN Trilogy, Alice and her five classmates are – for reasons they have yet to discover – abducted to 2118 in the C-Bean, their time-travel device, only to find the world is a difficult and alienating place.
How will they survive their terrifying ordeal? Who can help them figure out a way to get back to their own time? Will they escape before their captor Commander Hadron catches up with them? Who is he anyway and what’s his connection to the mysterious Dr Foster?
Unsettled by the devastation they find everywhere in the future and armed with new knowledge about the C-Bean’s ultimate purpose, Alice and Co scour the planet, confronting many challenges in pursuit of answers to their questions. But can they figure out a way to restore the Earth’s delicate ecological balance for good?
Published November 27th 2014 by Medina Publishing Ltd
Can you introduce us to The SeaBEAN Trilogy?
SeaBEAN is a science fiction, magical realism adventure series aimed at readers aged 8-14. Think of it as ‘modern day Alice finds futuristic Doctor Who-type tardis on remote Scottish island, timetravels from past to future and back again to save world from certain catastrophe’. In the first book SeaBEAN, Alice finds a strange black cube – a C-Bean – on the beach in St Kilda where she lives, and discovers it can transport her and her five classmates anywhere in the world. They end up in New York, the rainforest, Hong Kong and Australia, making some odd connections as they go. At the start of SeaWAR, their C-Bean is broken and needs to undergo a factory reset in order to fix it. Little do they know but its timeclock is reset by 100 years, and Alice finds herself stuck in 1918 with Karla Ingermann, the C-Bean’s inventor, under attack by a German submarine. Her adventures back through time in the second book, SeaWAR, mean that she uncovers many secrets about St Kilda’s past and so at the start of the final part, SeaRISE, Alice and her classmates are abducted to 2118 and held captive there by the C-Bean’s inventor, because they now know too much.
What was your inspiration for the series?
I have always loved books that involve wild landscapes, plenty of time travel together with strange goings-on, plus St Kilda has always held a particular fascination for me, so it was about bringing all these ingredients together to tell a strongly environmental story.
How has Alice changed throughout the books?
At the start of SeaBEAN Alice is a naïve ten-year-old girl who hankers after a class pet, preferably a dog. While she gets a lot more than she bargained for over the course of the trilogy, she is someone whose innate curiosity and trusting nature leads her into each new adventure with an open mind and a generous heart. She really grows up as a result of all the challenges she has to face, and by putting two and two together along the way comes to a whole new understanding of the world and her place within it. She is sometimes held in check by her friend Edie, who is more cautious, or by Charlie, who is more savvy, but without her vision and courage none of them would have been able to achieve half of what Alice convinces them is possible.
What was the most difficult element of writing the SeaBEAN Trilogy?
Keeping in mind what the reader knows and doesn’t know at each point in the story is quite difficult, especially when you have time travel going on as well. I wanted there to be moments of jaw-dropping surprise, and also slow-burn dawning realization in places as well, so that sometimes the reader is caught off guard, and at other times they feel they’d almost got it all figured out for themselves except for one missing piece of the jigsaw. You have to develop a kind of selective amnesia when you’re editing the story to make sure everything is revealed at the right time and at the right pace.
What made you choose St Kilda as the setting for the book?
I wanted to choose a real island that we already cherish, but one that was currently uninhabited so that I could fictionally reinhabit it to tell my story. It had to have a real and exciting history and the potential to suffer at the hands of climate change in future. St Kilda was tailor-made for an eco-adventure – it is truly one of the world’s most amazing places, so much so it’s a World Heritage site twice over – the islands are stunning and teeming with nature, so choosing it as my setting gave the trilogy a strong and emotive sense of urgency.
How does climate change influence your writing?
I believe that dealing with the effects of climate change will be one of the biggest challenges facing young people of today when they begin to take charge of the future of our existence on this planet. As an architect, I have always been motivated by the idea that we can use our skills to improve our environment, but climate change has made me realize how easy it is to slip backwards and do completely the opposite. Now as a children’s author, I feel almost duty-bound to use my writing skills to stimulate readers to think deeply about this issue, by bringing them up close and personal to the effects of climate change in the context of a time travel adventure story.
Which authors are you reading at the moment?
I am reading another YA trilogy called Small Blue Thing by S C Ransom, which is a very intriguing tale about the crossover between our world and the undead. I have recently finished reading Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, who I think is the greatest living author. And with my new book group, we are reading Suite Française by Iréne Némirovsky an amazing book which was never completed because the author died in Auschwitz, but which tells the story of a village under occupation in France. All three have a strong authentic voice and a clear intent to make you feel as though you’re there, witnessing the story unfold before your very eyes.
What’s next for you?
At the moment I’m very busy promoting SeaRISE and the rest of the trilogy, but I am looking forward to settling down to a new project in January. I have sketched out quite a few ideas already, and it’s taking shape in my head, but I will only know once I get writing if it’s going to work or not. I have to feel totally committed to an idea to see it through, but I have a strong feeling this next project will hold my attention just as much as Alice, and have just as much intrigue, challenge and suspense. The starting point is the setting, which this time will be subtly menacing and claustrophobic, almost the opposite of the wild expanses of St Kilda in SeaBEAN.
Sarah Holding’s latest book SeaRISE (Medina) is available to buy here.
About the Author
1st December – Sci-Fi-London
2nd December – Sci-Fi Bulletin
3rd December – Fiction Fascination
4th December – Feeling Fictional
5th December – Cherry Mischievous
6th December – The Overflowing Library
7th December – Book Passion for Life
8th December – Bookaholics Book Club
9th December – The Secret Writer
10th December – Addicted to Media
11th December – SeaBEAN Trilogy Official Website