Local Author Honors the Memory of his Pet with Publication of Debut Fantasy Novel
Ryan Wakefield always had a dream of writing a fantasy novel for young readers. Since he was young, Ryan envisioned creating a fantasy world filled with colorful, hybrid creatures. He loved the idea of blending two or three animals together to create a magnificent new species and dreamt about breathing life into a world filled with those creatures. That dream recently became a reality with the publication of his debut novel titled Journey to Jumbalot for readers aged 11-14.
The book’s premise is about a housecat, Alby, and his adventurous search for his missing friend named Professor Vincent Wizoom. Wizoom is a brilliant engineer and builds an unusual triangular doorway inside his laboratory. Following the completion of the doorway, Wizoom mysteriously vanishes. To Alby’s astonishment, the doorway opens independently and his compassion for his missing friend gives him the strength to venture through the door and finds himself transported to a strange, new world – Jumbalot. Jumbalot is not a typical fantasy world filled with dragons, elves, and goblins. No, Jumbalot is inhabited with hybrid animals called jumboos that include the following: menacing mantaravens, friendly froguars, courageous tigeroons, wise pandowls, and much more!
Ryan explained, “Young readers will find themselves cheering for an unassuming housecat to find the will to believe in himself and overcome overwhelming odds. The main protagonist, Alby, is initially doubtful of what he can do, but he discovers that the love for his friend gives him the strength to not only rescue him, but to stand up to a tyrant terrorizing the world of Jumbalot. During his journey, Alby learns about a belief system that most jumboos adhere to called Jumbaloo. The Jumbaloo Triangle focuses on three equal traits: compassion, bravery, and imagination. Alby learns to use all three during his adventure and I hope it teaches young readers the importance of self-confidence and overcoming insecurities.”
The main character, Alby, is a housecat based on Ryan’s cat named Albert. Albert was a plus-sized cat, and he was Ryan’s best friend for 13 years.
“It was difficult to say goodbye when Albert succumbed to poor health but losing him pushed me to follow my dream. After years of dreaming about writing a fantasy novel, I sat down in front of my laptop and finally began developing the world of Jumbalot. The character of Alby is my way of honoring Albert’s memory and he is missed dearly.”
View the book teaser trailer for Journey to Jumbalot: https://youtu.be/znaNW-XC3qI
View an author interview: https://youtu.be/XdaPyIaFVvc
12821 Geneva Glade Drive
Riverview, FL 33578