Building Character with Erik from A Pirate, A Blockade Runner and a Cat

Welcome to my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought is host to Erik from A Pirate, A Blockade Runner and a Cat. Erik, it is so good of you to join us on Strands of Thought. Tell us a little about yourself and what your life is like.

Hi, I’m Erik Burks, 13, a guy that once had a great life. I had friends and baseball, a mom and dad. But this summer everything fell apart. Now I’m living halfway across the country, no dad, no friends, no baseball. Just my mom and Aunt Molly. My life is over.

Oh, Erik, I’m so sorry to hear all of that. Now what are you going to do?

I’m trying to convince my mom to move back to Texas. I think she acted too hastily. You see, when I found this black lace bra (not my mom’s) in my dad’s car, she went ballistic, threw some clothes into a suitcase and the next thing I knew we were on a plane to South Carolina. Now Mom and I are living with Mom’s sister (Aunt Molly) and my friends and baseball are still in Texas. 

What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ve encountered trying to get your mom to see reason?

Well, first Mom won’t even discuss going home. I can’t say as I blame her, if the lace means what I’m pretty sure it means, but she could think of me, her only child, what I want. Second, my dad hasn’t called, sent smoke signals, or emailed or text messaged me to see if I’m okay. I guess he doesn’t really miss me. Third, Mom thinks I’m too young to stay by myself while she’s at work so she has the old (and I mean old) man next door babysitting me. Talk about humiliation. I’m glad my friends in Texas can’t see what my life has become.   

What have you learned about yourself during all of this?

I’ve learned I’m pretty selfish and will do most anything to get what I want. I’m not proud of myself, just desperate.

Erik, tell us about your best friend.

I never thought I’d call the twins, Star and Storm Knight, friends, but we’ve been through a lot together and they’re kind of cool, in a weird way.  Star knows everything a person is thinking, which means I have to guard my thoughts. Some things are too private for her to know. And Storm is goofy but brilliant. Contradiction, huh?

Let’s get to know you a bit better. What are your three favorite leisure activities?

Baseball, eating, and baseball. Yeah, I’m crazy about the sport.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Major league baseball player.

If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

I’d make parents have to ask their kids their opinions about things that affect the kid, like moving to a new town and being honest with their kid instead of keeping secrets, like we’re too dumb to figure out what they’re doing.

Erik, we wish you lots of luck with your unfortunate situation. I’m glad you have made friends in your new town, because it would be hard to go through so much change all alone. Thanks for visiting!

Thank you, Ms. Strand for letting me tell my troubles. Erik, AKA Ek

I love that nickname! Be sure to tell Storm that ‘Ek’ makes me smile! Readers, here is more about Erik and his story, A Pirate, A Blockade Runner and a Cat (a great middle grade read, by the way!):

Thirteen-year-old Erik Burks’ life is falling apart. When he discovers a lace bra in the glove compartment of his dad’s car, his mom leaves his father and drags Erik from being king of the hill in Texas to the bottom of the pits in South Carolina. No Dad, no baseball, no friends, just Starry Knight (a girl who reads minds) and her equally weird brother, Stormy, the twins that live down the block.

Just when Erik thinks life can’t get any worse, while hanging out at the beach one evening, he and the twins notice lights radiating from the lighthouse. The only problem is the lighthouse was deactivated years ago. Stranger still, a ship materializes in the moonlit harbor. Curious, the twins and a reluctant Erik investigate and discover the ghost of a blockade runner, a phantom cat, and a pirate who prowls Charleston Harbor, all searching for rest.

A former nonbeliever in the existence of ghosts, Erik cannot deny the proof before him. And he has a revelation: The ghosts may be the answer to his desire to return home. Erik soon makes a deal with the ghosts. He’ll help them find what they’re looking for so their spirits can rest in peace. In return, the ghosts will scare Erik’s mother so she’ll be on the next flight back to Texas. Star thinks his plan stinks, but Erik wants his life back, even at the cost of his mother’s sanity.

MuseItUp Publishing:

Learn about Erik’s author:

Beverly Stowe McClure, former teacher, is now enjoying a second career: writing. She never planned to be a writer, but in the classroom she and her students did such fun activities in art and science that she decided to write about some of them. Luckily, a few magazines liked what she sent them, and her articles have appeared in Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse, Jr., and others. Nine of her stories, from picture books to MG/Tween and Young Adult novels have been published. She also has a doggie article in Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog.

For fun, Beverly enjoys genealogy and discovering what her ancestors were like many years ago. She plays the piano. (Thank you, Mom, for making encouraging me to practice.) She takes long walks where she snaps pictures of wildlife and clouds, and of course she reads, usually two books at a time. Watching baseball is another of her favorite activities. Retirement is highly recommended.

If you have a character from a children’s, tween or young adult book that you’d like to see interviewed on Building Character, please contact kaistrand at yahoo dot com.


  1. Hi Ms. Kai,
    Thanks for telling my story on your blog. Maybe it will help another kid's parents treat their son or daughter with more respect. We are human, ya know. We like to be asked our opinions about our lives.

    Thanks again.
    Erik AKA Ek

    1. Absolutely, Erik. I was 15 when my mom came to me and said, "I'm thinking of moving, where would you like to move to?" We decided on Southern California together. And I felt really good that my mom and I discussed it together!

    2. Sounds like you were blessed with a very nice mom, Kai.

  2. What a wonderful way of getting to know more about a character? I have to agree with Eric regarding parents asking their kids an opinion on something that will change their lives. Fun post. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, EW. Kai's character interviews are a lot of fun.

    2. I love learning more about the characters! And since I had imaginary friends when I was young, I'm pretty comfortable talking to them, too. Thanks for stopping in EW!

  3. what a cool sounding story. and I love that Erik is selfish and he knows it. sometimes in life, that's the way it is, and that's ok!

    1. Yep, Erik's a pretty typical boy, I think. Thanks for stopping by, Jessie.

    2. It is a great story, Jessie. I hope you take the opportunity to read it. One of the ghosts (the blockade runner, James) is my favorite character. But the main trio are all really fun, too. Thanks for stopping in, Jessie.

  4. Beverly. what a lively, fun plotline!

    1. Thanks, Catherine. Kai asks our characters great questions.

    2. Thanks for stopping in, Catherine. It is a great book!


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