Author Maximilian Hawker (@MaxHawker) works in frontline children’s social care and has been affected by OCD since he was a child. He has done work on raising awareness of OCD in conjunction with OCD Action in the past, including writing a piece for our newsletter and appearing on BBC Radio London.
His latest venture is a children’s/young adult novel about a boy, living with OCD, who travels through space with his social worker to rescue his mother. It’s called Rory Hobble and the Voyage to Haligogen and is crowdfunding over on Unbound here – Unbound is of course the publisher that brought us Rose Cartwright’s Pure.
Max shared his thinking with us on why he wrote this book:
"There are very few characters in children’s fiction with OCD and I know that, when I was diagnosed as a kid, I really wanted a hero I could relate to. But more than that, the condition is still really misunderstood and if I can challenge that at all, then great."
On the quirkiness of the book’s premise, he says:
"Who doesn’t love a good sci-fi? We need imagination in our lives! But at the heart of the novel is this relationship between a boy and his social worker – the two of them trying to work through the trauma of a confusing and intrusive mental health condition. I thought that such a dynamic, set in an alien universe, sounded pretty cool and I’m hoping people agree!"
The full synopsis runs:
Eleven-year-old Rory Hobble has it tough: he gets upsetting thoughts all the time and they won't go away – 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)', the head doctors call it. His mum hasn't been very well for a long while either. Perhaps it's his fault... Maybe that's why she doesn't always feed him; maybe that's why she screams at him. At least Rory has his binoculars – gazing at the unchanging stars keeps him calm. But, one night, Rory sees something impossible in the sky: mysterious lights – artificial and definitely not of earthly origin.
When his mum is abducted by the shadowy Whiffetsnatcher, Rory – accompanied by his space-faring, care-experienced social worker, Limmy – travels beyond the Earth, chasing those mysterious lights to the frozen ends of the Solar System. Along the way he must outwit a breakaway human civilisation living on a Martian moon; survive the threat of otherworldly monsters; and learn to speak to alien whales.
But his greatest challenge left Earth with him and it will take all the courage he has not only to overcome his OCD, but to decide whether he wants to rescue an abusive mother if he gets his chance…
We are really excited at the prospect of what looks set to be quite an adventure and we are delighted to see the experience of OCD being told from the perspective of a child – something that is rare in fiction. Not only that, but as long as the book is successfully funded, Max will be donating 15% of all royalties to OCD Action - amazing!
Good luck, Max, and thank you for your continued support!