We speak to author A.D. Hutchinson about his thrilling new children’s fantasy adventure novel, Scholar of the Ebony Crown, and why he hopes it inspires more people to become foster parents.

A. D. Hutchinson

A. D. Hutchinson

Q. The inspiration for Scholar of the Ebony Crown comes from your experiences of being a foster parent. Tell us more about why these experiences motivated you to write a children’s novel?

A. There’s a shortage of foster carers all over the UK. Children deserve to live in a loving family environment and it’s so sad to see them passing from one family to another, some not knowing where they’re going  to be the next day. This also has a disruptive impact on their education, social activities, and friendships. I believe in treating all humans fairly and equally. We all have the potential to achieve great things if given the right chances in life, and that begins with a nurturing childhood.

Q. What do you hope young readers get most from reading Scholar of the Ebony Crown?

A. I hope that the adventure with the novel’s young protagonist Eddy Trotter brings young readers enjoyment and thrills from the first chapter to the last. And that they learn from the story of Eddy’s journey from hardship to triumph the importance of never giving up.

3. The young hero, Eddy Trotter, goes on an exciting journey of self-discovery and growth. In a nutshell, and without giving away any spoilers, how would you describe his growth?

A. We first meet Eddy, an orphan, when he’s living a miserable life at the home of his aunt and uncle’s, where they treat him unfairly while doting on his spoiled cousin, Garfield. Thankfully, his life begins to turn around, with him being able to grow into the special person he’s destined to be, at the Soyinka School of Magic and Illusions. Having been remorselessly bullied at his old school, he’s delighted to find good friends, Hoody and  Romizia. He also gets to go on some exciting trips to Brixton Market with the ever-helpful and kind Zegota, enjoying mouthwatering foods and drinks. It makes quite the change from having to live in a tiny, chilly shed in his guardians’ garden!

Q. Again, without giving away any spoilers, what dangers await him on his journey?

A. That’s for the reader to discover but I can say that Eddy will encounter someone many, many times worse than his cousin Garfield. How he deal with that challenge will define his future and the future of the world.

Q. What are you most proud of your children’s novel?

A. When I sees young children glued to the book instead of being glued to the television or iPhone. One of the things that was important to me in writing Scholar of the Ebony Crown was to encourage reading and literacy, as well as impart important positive life lessons, so it’s wonderful to see it working as hoped.

With his debut novel, Scholar of the Ebony Crown, A.D. Hutchinson balances the emotional nuances of foster care with an engaging narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.
With his debut novel, Scholar of the Ebony Crown, A.D. Hutchinson balances the emotional nuances of foster care with an engaging narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

Q. Having been a proud foster parent, what would you say to anyone considering fostering a child?

A. Go for  it, because it’s not the children’s faults that, for one reason or another, they can’t be raised by their parents. For some of these children, their foster parents will be the first to provide a true sense of family and love, which are vital for kids to be happy and grow in confidence. There’s nothing as rewarding as parenting a child, and this is especially so when at the same time we are helping those who have come from somewhere less fortunate than ourselves.

I would also love for more people from ethnic minorities to step forward as foster parents. There is a chronic shortage and while a white family can certainly provide a nurturing and stable environment for a child from an ethnic minority background, they won’t have the same understanding and shared cultural and social experiences that someone from the child’s own heritage will.

Q. You’re currently working on a sequel to Scholar of the Ebony Crown. What can readers expect?

A. All I can say is that it’s going to be epic and mystical.

Q. Ten per cent of proceeds from the sales of your book go to supporting underprivileged children in the UK and internationally. Can you tell us more about the charity you are working with?

A. I have two chosen charities: Save the Children and WaterAid. I used  to do voluntary work for Save the Children so I know first-hand how important and life-changing their work is. WaterAid is also very important as everyone needs clean, safe water to drink yet many people around the world struggle to have access to drinkable water, threatening their lives.

Scholar of the Ebony Crown by A.D. Hutchinson is out now on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats, priced £11.99 and 79p respectively. For more information, visit www.ADHutchinson.com.


Exclusive Excerpt From Scholar of the Ebony Crown

In Scholar of the Ebony Crown, A.D. Hutchinson seamlessly weaves the challenges and triumphs of foster care into a tapestry of fantasy and self-discovery, creating a story that is not only relatable but deeply meaningful. Here is an exclusive extract from the beginning of the novel, introducing us to young hero, Eddy.

As his Aunty Sonesta switched off the flickering light and left the frosty room, Eddy was worried. He cowered underneath the covers of his bed, grasped the sheets, and held his breath as the breeze swept past the draughty window.

Eddy stared blankly at the ceiling, wearing his usual thinking face, wondering whether he would ever be happy. He wished he could only stop those lonely tears form falling.

Eddy was a mixed-race child who was tall, slim, and had arms that looked like twigs. He had messy brown curly hair, which he didn’t cut short like the other boys at school. He loved to plait his hair and allow it to grow thick enough to develop natural waves and curls. Nothing about his physical appearance—a small, straight nose and bow-shaped lips—was striking except his deep-set, azure-blue eyes, which made him look mature for his age. Though he looked plain, his face had smooth, light skin. He must have inherited good genes from his parents.

Eddy didn’t own a good pair of pants or shirts. He only wore plain, used clothes handed down to him by his cousin Garfield, Aunty Sonesta’s son.

Eddy loved eating spicy foods. Just like any other kid, he loved playing at the nearby playgrounds. He enjoyed it so much when his uncle Byron, commonly known as ‘Mr Pusey’, took them on trips to the zoo, park, cinema, or to eat at a restaurant. He loved being around friendly people.

Eddy had been an orphan since birth. He didn’t enjoy being lonely, and he hated being bullied. He also hated wearing Garfield’s old, smelly clothes. However, being a humble kid, he never showed that he didn’t enjoy wearing used clothes or being made to work hard every day without rest.

For a ten-year-old boy, Eddy looked confused. Anguish, pain, and hard work had been all he had ever known. He walked a tightrope every day, wanting to be the best little boy to the Puseys despite them considering him inadequate next to Garfield. Eddy had to adjust quickly to his past and future, and understand what it meant to grow up as an orphan.

Mr and Mrs Pusey, who lived at 9 Manor Lane, strongly believed they were a faultless, ordinary family. Mr Pusey was the manager of a manufacturing firm called Sleep-Comfortable, which made children’s beds. He was a short, little man with heavy, narrow shoulders, red hair, and a tiny head. He would stuff his hats with newspapers to compensate for his tiny head. His neck was fat, he had a hawk nose, and a long beard that reached his knees, which he plaited into a braid. He walked with a walking stick. He used to smack the blowing winds with it.

This enchanting tale by A.D. Hutchinson entertains, inspires, and educates young hearts.
This enchanting tale by A.D. Hutchinson entertains, inspires, and educates young hearts.

Mrs Pusey, on the other hand, was quite a tall lady, being double the height of Mr Pusey. Her tallness matched her domineering attitude. Her physical appearance was nothing to write home about. The word ‘cruelty’ was written all over her face. She always favoured her son Garfield and ensured he was prioritised in the house.

The Puseys had little to live on. Their combined income was never sufficient for them to have the extravagant lifestyle they dreamed of. They had always been envious of the Trotters, Eddy’s late parents.

Mr Trotter had been Mr Pusey’s brother-in-law. It had been more than ten years since the Puseys had last met the Trotters. Mrs Pusey always joked that she’d never had a sister.

Her sister’s husband had been an African American. They had met at Harvard University in the United States, fell in love, and married. The Puseys shuddered at the thought of what their neighbours would have said if the Trotters had moved in.

While the Puseys had taken in Eddy, the Trotters’ other child—Eddy’s older brother Zekailo—had been placed with adoptive parents from birth. Despite being only a year apart, the two boys had never met.

When Mr and Mrs Pusey woke up on that overcast, hazy Sunday, there was nothing in the gloomy sky outside to show that weird and sinister things would soon occur all over England. Mr Pusey picked out his most tedious hat for work while a chattering Mrs Pusey grappled with a blaring Garfield, who was on the floor playing. None of them noticed a massive, one-legged carrion crow fluttering past the window.

Finally, at five minutes to seven, Mr Pusey picked up his bag and stick, kissed Mrs Pusey on the cheek, and tried to cuddle his son goodbye, but Garfield was busy having an outburst and throwing his porridge all over the floor.