West Lothian author Linda Erskine pens children’s novel 'George and Mildred: Let’s Tango' starring her rescue dog Hector
Local writer Linda Erskine has published her third book in the George and Mildred series of children’s adventures with Let’s Tango - starring her pet boxer, Hector.
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George and Mildred: Let’s Tango is now available internationally on Amazon and signals a welcome to a new character, Hector, inspired by a real-life boxer – to join George the Boxer and Mildred the Yorkie in the community.
In this third instalment in the George and Mildred series of children’s books, Let’s Tango sees this dynamic doggie duo teach Hector, a foster dog from Spain, that he does not have to change who he is to feel like he’s part of a family.
“Hector came to Scotland from Spain through Thistle Boxer Rescue. He stayed with me in my small cottage as a trial run to see how my boy Kao (George) and he would get along,” said Ms Erskine.
The author found the biggest challenge for Hector was not accepting new people in his life, but he is now acclimatising to his new surroundings.
She said: “It got me thinking about how foster children feel when they’re sent away from their original family. And as with many children entering into a new phase in their life, whether it’s moving or going to a new school, they may think they need to change who they are to fit in.”
Centered around a Christmas pageant and talent show, Let’s Tango sees Mildred the Yorkie vying for superstar status as the Christmas Angel with a Capital A, while George the Boxer learns Spanish to make friends with Hector and show him he has nothing to fear about embracing this new life in a different country.
“I think a lot of children will see themselves in Hector – scared of embracing who they are – in whatever new situations they find themselves in,” said Ms Erskine. “What’s more important is who you love, who loves you and learning to love and accept yourself.”
It’s a lesson that Ms Erskine wishes she had learned a lot earlier on in her life, and one she hopes to pass on to her young readers.
“I spent a lot more time than I should worrying about what others thought of me, in hiding my talents. If I can help one child feel not so alone, then I’m happy,” she said.
The topic of what makes a family is also central to the story.
“There is not a traditional family portrait – like most we see portrayed in films and TV shows – it’s more about realising that it’s the love that exists between people that make a family,” said Ms Erskine. “You don’t have to be born into a family to feel like you’re part of one. It’s who you love and who loves you.”
George, Mildred and the array of characters also have a new home – a reimagined, more interactive website – where children can share their own pet stories, interact with Ms Erskine and find out more where George and Mildred will go next.