As a free-lance writer my output ranged from general magazine articles to educational puppet plays for children and an award-winning radio play for the BBC. Part of my day job was to make specialist information accessible to the general public. Inevitably, when I went sailing, I wrote to make those experiences which I found so compelling accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
So one of my great pleasures now is hearing from readers who say how completely they have slipped into Voyager's world. One said she was reading Dolphins Under My Bed on her long winter 'bus rides to and from work but had ceased to notice them as in her mind she was sailing down summer coastlines. Also, she said, on the journeys home she was now always on the lookout for the planet Venus - a particular favourite with sailors - in the evening sky.
One of the things that a book does is take us into a world that we would not otherwise enter, and perhaps would not particularly wish to on a physical level. Through the mind's eye, however, a book takes us to magical places without the financial cost or the bodily discomforts of physically getting there. It also offers another person's perspective, the world through someone else's eyes.
Perhaps one of the most complimentary things anyone has said to me was a half-embarrassed, "To be honest, this isn't the sort of book I would normally take off the shelf. But once I started it, I couldn't stop." Although an acquaintance said, 'Now I've read your books, I think I understand you.' I'm still mulling that one over.
Through sailing, which I had no taste for initially, I developed a love of the sea. In loving it, I became aware of its fragility. If my books were to achieve anything among readers, apart from an enjoyment of places and people and open spaces, I should want them to see the oceans of the world as the truly extraordinary environments they really are, instead of just a food source and a dumping ground for the world's garbage.
There is no more captivating sight than a family of common dolphins teaching their babies to swim with your boat, or a pod of 80-foot fin whales observing you minutely as they overtake you at four-times your speed. They do not endanger us. But, sadly, we are damaging them.
You can find out more about me and my books on https://sites.google.com/site/sandraclaytonauthor/