New Zealand author of books and stories on marine topics.
Tui Allen is a mother, cyclist, jogger and animal lover. She lives in the country where it's quiet and beautiful. She sailed the South Pacific on a little wooden boat when she was young and that was where she met the cetaceans who have stayed with her in mind ever since. She is an activist for marine conservation causes.
Ripple is also easily obtainable in print.
Interview by Eleni Papanou of Visonary Fiction Alliance - Before we start, why don’t you tell us the meaning of your name.
I’m a New-Zealander. The tui is a bird, native to my country. It’s slightly larger than a blackbird and appears black from a distance, but the plumage is overlaid with a shimmer of iridescent blues, purples and greens. It has a white tuft at the throat and a tracery of white across the shoulders. They have a beautiful song.
What inspired you to write this story?
It was during my youthful ocean sailing voyages that I found much inspiration that later became the story of Ripple. But it really started even earlier, when as a teenager I discovered the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I memorized The Ancient Mariner and would recite it silently when alone on watch at night sailing across the Pacific. Coleridge and Richard Bach are my greatest literary influences. Although my plot is completely different, Ripple shares three things with AM. 1. The ocean setting 2. The presence of the spirit world 3. A message of respect for the living things of the sea The non-human point of view is something Ripple shares with Jonathan Livingston Seagull, another mind/body/spirit animal tale. When sailing, we did not use an engine. With just a wing in the wind and a fin in the sea we were like another sea creature meeting whales and dolphins out there in the middle of the ocean, in their own world and almost on their own terms. We could see their majesty and sense their spirituality. These are intelligent beings with brains larger than ours. I remember sailing along making mental lists of the kinds of vocations cetaceans might have. Among many other things, they could be teachers, poets, musicians, doctors, historians, warriors, meteorologists. However, they could never be accountants, engineers, sculptors or plumbers. All this later found its way into the story of Ripple. There are also two important facts I discovered long ago, that gave rise to Ripple: 1. Dolphins evolved tens of millions of years before humans came down from the trees. 2. The dolphin brain has ten times the capacity of the human brain to process sound.
Ripple is the twenty million year old story of how love inspired one dolphin to an intellectual achievement that changed the universe. Critically acclaimed internationally. Translated and traditionally published in Europe.
This book is well worth a read. It is not perfect but it is an extremely gripping story and full of action. It is not the kind of book I normally read, yet I found myself reading in the small hours to find out what happened next. One of the fastest-moving reads I've experienced - a rapidly plot-twisting roller-coaster. The characters endear themselves and you feel for them. The frequent POV changes were unsettling at first, but the reason for that is hinted in the title of the book. Its not the story of a single person but of his bloodline through several generations so we switch from male to female and back quite regularly though mainly focusing on one from each generation. I felt that the book was well-researched and displaying a period in the history of Australia accurately and with a gritty realism that brought it alive for me. There were a few errors but not so many they became obtrusive or annoying. Well worth a read. I'm intending to give the next one a go as well.