John Hope is the author of Silencing Sharks,
a book that teaches the importance of compassion, friendship, and doing the right thing, even when it’s not easy. According to the author, this book is told through the silent lens of 13-year-old Peter. Deaf and tormented by neighborhood bullies, Peter seeks solace in summertime snorkeling outings with his eccentric Viking-horn-helmeted Uncle Sverrir. But after a dangerous encounter with a giant hammerhead predator, Peter discovers he has a unique gift: He can talk to sharks. Peter quickly learns that the sharks near his Florida home are being mysteriously killed off. They need his help. Thrust into a scary but exciting adventure, both above- and below-water, Peter is distressed to learn that his dad, a chef, is connected to the crime—being blackmailed by his boss to cook up illegal shark-fin soup. Peter sets himself to the daunting task of saving both the sharks and his father, but to do so, he must rely on the very bullies who have tormented him.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing seriously since 2001, starting with short stories and scripts for local performing arts. My first children’s book was published in 2012, with my first novel published in 2014.
What is your most recent literary/artistic project?
Silencing Sharks, a novel about a deaf 13-year-old boy who learns he can talk to sharks. Using the advice from an eccentric, Viking-loving uncle, he has to team up with neighborhood bullies to rescue the sharks from poachers who are making illegal shark fin soup while saving his blackmailed dad. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from readers on this one, several personally reaching out to me with thanks for covering such important issues.
What inspires you to write?
Everybody. People’s reactions to my stories make it all worth while. I strive for two things in everything I write: make people think, and make people feel. It truly excites me when I’m able to reach people in such deep, intimate ways.
Who’s your favorite author and why?
This is always an impossible question for me. I love so many stories and the authors who compose them. Stories themselves are so primordial to being human that everybody has an author inside them. I love it every time I have the privilege to enjoy the stories that come out of people, regardless how they share it, through words, theater, movies, etc. I hate to say this, but I really don’t have a single favorite, I’ve got dozens, maybe hundreds, of favorites. They include friends, family, famous and unknown acquaintances. I love them all.
What advice can you give to other authors or writers?
Write everyday, and force yourself to finish the stories you’ve begun. Both are very hard for everybody. Writing is hard, very hard at times, especially when doing it well. But it’s a skill that grows and matures the more you do it. Often, I come across people who have a great story bubbling up inside them, but they sit on it for years and sometimes never act on it. What a shame to neglect something so wonderful. Let it out.
Where can readers go to find out more information about your work?
My website http://www.johnhopewriting.com has all of my published works and is continually updated with the latest books. The site contains free presentations, fun worksheets, and even comics. The main page also has a field that allows people to sign up for my monthly newsletter, that gives readers opportunities for free story downloads and special inside info.