A young Brac writer has made his publishing debut with an exciting tale for young readers, set to capture their imaginations and sense of adventure.
Josh Dilbert’s book “The Mordenham Acres,” written under his pen name Brad Tarlem, tells the story of two young brothers from the beautiful forest of Mordenham Acres. The brothers Hank and Hal are two young rats who long to journey into the forest in search of adventure, despite their mother’s warnings. Foiled on their first attempt, the fully grown brothers decide to try again years later in the hope of find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. On their journey they meet lots of interesting characters, as well as some new friends.
Josh’s book, which he said caters to ages 8-12, is published by Olympia Publishers in the U.K., and is dedicated to his niece Gianna, his cousin Marley, and Abbey, the daughter of an ex co-worker.
“Gianna and Marley are sweethearts and the youngest members of the family. Abbey who is now 12, tugged at my heartstrings from the time her mum brought her into the office,” said Josh.
The 21-year-old Bracker from Creek says his inspiration for the book comes from seeing the challenges of single parenting.
“I think these days there are a lot of single parents out there. If we look at [many] families today, there is just one parent that is mostly around and that is the mother. I was lucky to have two parents while growing up, but a lot of my friends only had a mother … I wanted to incorporate that into the book,” he said.
The book’s cover features a big-bellied pirate heading though the forest with a barrel on his shoulder, as rats and snakes scuttle ahead, drawing the reader into the pages.
“The cover and book came out even better than I imagined. I was very, very pleased,” said Josh. The pirate is one of the characters in the book, he added.
Growing up, Josh loved to read.
“I read the series of Hardy Boys [books] by Franklin Dixon, and ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens is one of my favorites. ‘The Red Badge of Courage’ by Stephen Crane is also a favorite,” he said.
There is something about books that draws him in, he said. His mother Juliet Dilbert loves to read too, and as he was growing up she had lots of books around the home, which is how his love of books came to be.
Josh started writing from around age 16, and from then on he knew wanted to publish his own books one day.
“I had the story for ‘The Mordenham Acres’ knocking around in my head and just wanted to get it out,” he said.
“I had been writing for a few years, but every time I would give up on it. The story of rats just took root, and every day when I got a break I would work on it,” he said.
“After it was finished, I came up with the title. It just clicked in my mind one day and had the right ring to it.”
Josh remembers getting an earful from his teacher for reading a book while she was teaching the class.
“She realized what I was doing, and came right over and banged the ruler on the table, and said ‘From now on you are banned from reading.’”
Later, he said, the teacher admitted to being a bit hard, and told him to refrain from reading while she was teaching.
Josh says the book is the first of many to come. He is currently working on his second book, “Sarma.”
“This book is a bit more for the mature reader,” he said, not wanting to let out the secrets of the story.
Looking back on the process of becoming a published author, Josh noted the road is hard, but worth it.
“Publishing a book is not an easy process. You just have to keep working at it,” he said, adding that for him it was not so much the ideas, but making them come together and making it flow that posed the biggest challenge.
“You can’t get discouraged … I got five or six rejections trying to get my book published. One publisher completely criticized the book. There are lots of publishers out there who think like that … but don’t be beaten down, just go for it,” he said.
Josh graduated from the Brac’s Layman E. Scott Sr. High School in 2012. These days, when not working at his job at Cayman National Bank on the Brac, he’s doing a lot of writing and enjoying his favorite hobbies, gardening, reading and walking.
“The Mordenham Acres” will soon be available at Bluff View store in Cayman Brac, and Josh is working to have copies available in Grand Cayman. The book is available online through various retailers, including Amazon.