Hello everybody! Today, I’m here with a blog tour post, with a piece from author Victoria Williamson on her main character Max. Onto the post!
War of the Wind focuses first and foremost on the journey of acceptance that Max goes on after losing his hearing in a boating accident at the age of twelve. When we join him at the start of the story on Scragness Island, aged fourteen, he’s adjusting to his new life by learning sign language and getting help in school from the additional support needs class, but he’s still angry at his life changing, and the impact this has had on his relationships with his friends and family. He’s so preoccupied that at first he doesn’t notice that people on the island are starting to act strangely after a wind farm is built off the island’s coast. But when he meets a sinister scientist called Doctor Ashwood at the substation, he notices that it’s not ordinary workers who are moving about behind the high fence, but soldiers. As the behaviour of the people and animals on the island becomes more aggressive and dangerous, Max realises Doctor Ashwood is conducting an experiment on the islanders using the wind turbines, and that he’s immune to it due to his hearing loss. It’s only by working together with three of the teenagers in his additional support needs class that he’s able to piece together the puzzle, and come up with a way to stop the experiment before it has tragic consequences. In the process, he finds ways to rebuild his relationship with his parents and accept his new baby sister, as well as finding new friends and reconnecting with old ones. Here are five interesting things about Max:
1. Max communicates in British Sign Language with the other deaf girl in his class, Erin. They use fingerspelling to spell out people’s names – here’s how the name ’Max’ would be spelled using fingerspelling:
You can learn the whole BSL fingerspelling alphabet and play some fingerspelling games here: https://www.british-sign.co.uk/fingerspelling-alphabet-charts/
2. At the start of the novel, Max is finding it difficult to maintain his relationship with his former friends. They used to play football together all the time, and he’s worried that he can’t play anymore now that he’s deaf. However, in reality deaf people can also play football, and there are many teams across the UK especially for deaf players – there are even Great Britain men’s and women’s teams which compete at the Deaflympics.
3. Max makes assumptions about what the other characters with special needs in the novel can do, even though it annoys him when people make assumptions about him because he’s deaf. Max himself is guilty of underestimating the abilities of other pupils in his additional support needs class – in particular Beanie and David. He assumes that David is less intelligent because he can’t talk, uses a wheelchair, and struggles to control his limb movements, but then Max discovers that David is actually the smartest boy in the class. He’s not particularly nice to Beanie at the start of the book either, but as he gets to know her, he realises that she’s even better at sign language than he is because she’s been friends with Erin for years. When the four teenagers are trying to stop the turbine experiment’s final phase, Beanie is the one who comes up with a way to save the day.
4. Although Max is worried about being bullied and he tries to avoid confrontation at every opportunity, he’s really quite brave. He goes out at night to investigate the strange lights he sees flashing in the bay around the turbines, he sneaks into the wind farm substation and discovers Doctor Ashwood’s secret documents, and he faces his fear of being in a boat again after his accident when it turns out that the only way to stop the experiment’s final phase is to get back to the substation in time to destroy the signal generator. I think he’s a lot braver than I am!
5. Max knows how to drive a motorboat. Max is only fourteen, but his father taught him how to drive the boat around Wicklin Bay when he was younger, and it’s this skill he calls on to race back to the substation to try to stop the experiment’s final phase. I don’t know the first thing about motorboats or sailing, but I have rowed a few small boats in ponds – although if this photo of me attempting to row aged ten is anything to go by, I need a lot more practise!
War of the Winds is available to buy now! I’m so looking forward to reading my review copy soon, especially as I’m hard of hearing myself 🙂
Thank you so much for reading! Are you planning to pick this up, and have you read Victoria’s others? What are some interesting facts about you? I’d love to chat in the comments!
One thought on “War of the Winds Blog Tour: Guest Post from Victoria Williamson”
Thanks Amy, I really enjoyed reading this post as I’m a huge fan of Victoria Williams’ writing. I have read this book and think it’s wonderful both as an exciting story and as a positive representation of individuals living with disabilities. As someone who is trying to learn to be a better ally, I found it very helpful to read.