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Wilbur the Lost Whale: an interview

Alex Aspinall has always been passionate about the marine world. After leaving school, she began to pursue an entirely different career, but couldn't stay away for too long! Now Alex has been studying and is dedicated to the protection of our oceans, and hopes that she can inspire more people to care too! We had a chat with her to find out what motivates her. Don't forget to download her book for free using the link at the bottom of the page!

You are clearly passionate about the marine world; is there a specific memory or event that you can pin your love of the marine world to?

As a kid I was obsessed with shark week! I remember desperately seeking out books and programmes that had anything to do with sharks. Aside from that, summer holidays to the beautiful British coast really taught me to appreciate all the amazing marine life we have. Whether that be searching rock pools for small creatures or gazing out to the horizon and hoping to see a fin pierce the surface. As I’ve gotten older I’ve managed to get involved in lots of volunteer work right here in the UK that’s just made me love the marine world even more, I even got to help out researching blue sharks off the coast of Cornwall last summer!

 Tiger shark

Have you always wanted to work with the marine world? You took a little detour to get here – what made you come back around?

When I was younger it was always my dream to be a marine biologist. I didn’t end up pursuing this for a couple of reasons, one being that I disliked my biology teacher in high school (don’t let a bad teacher discourage you from doing something you’d love, you’ll regret it!) and it also seemed so farfetched for a girl from a small town just outside of Manchester to grow up and get to work with the marine world! So, I followed what I saw as a more realistic career path for a while, but I ended up miserable, stuck in an office and still thinking about sharks 24/7. Then I finally gave in and pursued my true passion.

 

What inspired you to write a children’s book?

I wanted to inspire children to care about the ocean the way I do! By writing “Wilbur the Lost Whale” I was hoping to raise awareness about conservation issues in a way that was still fun and interesting. I wanted to show children that the ocean is worth protecting by showing them all of the incredible creatures that live there! I wanted to inspire them, so that in the future we can work together to achieve conservation targets, like protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030!

 

 Whale

You illustrated the book yourself – have you always liked drawing and painting?

I’ve always enjoyed drawing, painting and making art in general, but I often struggle to find the time to do it. This book’s been a really great project in that sense, as I’ve had to set myself deadlines and be very organised to get everything finished on time. I’d love to do similar projects in the future,  I’m actually planning on making another similar book that’s focused on the marine life found around the UK. Lots of people don’t realise how much wildlife there is right on our door step and I’d love to change that!

 

If you could give one piece of advice to our Wildlife Watchers on how to follow their dreams, what would it be?

Do some research to figure out exactly what you need to do to follow your dreams and write down a plan of action! Set yourself personal goals, for example maybe doing some volunteer work would help get you closer to your dream. If you wanted to be a marine biologist you could start by helping out at local beach clean-ups. Remain focused and don’t let anybody discourage you, no matter how big your dream!  And don’t worry if, like me, your plans change along the way, as long as you work hard you’ll have lots of options in the future! 

 

Thanks, Alex! We look forward to seeing what you get up to in the future!

 

Wilbur is lost! Follow him as he visits his old favourite places in search of his family. Many of them have been nearly destroyed by careless humans, but Wilbur learns that in the midst of all the destruction, there is hope.

Download the tale of Wilbur the Whale for free here