People are curious animals. I have been asked many times, “what do you do?” When I tell them I’m an author, the next question is “have you written anything I’ve read?” This question always makes me smile as I wonder how I would know what they’ve read in their lifetime. The next question is usually about the genre I write. When I tell them I’ve written a middle grade children’s novel, most of the questions cease with the last retort of, “when you decide to write a ____ novel, let me know.” At this point I think, as Christina Applegate’s character, Sue Ellen, said in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead, “I’m right on top of that Rose.” With all kidding aside, it brings me to my subject. Why do I write? The other question is, why did I choose to write a middle grade children’s novel?
For those of you who don’t know, I’m the mother of three adult children and two of the cutest grandchildren. I have always been a reader, instilled in me at a young age by my Grandma Bea. When my children were growing up I tried to encourage the same love of reading in my kids. I encouraged reading, I led by example with my reading habits, we made trips to the library, books were gifts for all occasions, and I read to them when they were growing up. I thought I had put all the correct emphasis on a habit I believe changed my world.
I have to admit I failed. My children reached the middle grade years and everything was more important than reading. They had video games, sports, and friends. In other words, life happened. If it hadn’t been for authors such as R. L. Stine, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman just to name a few, they might have been lost in the land of video games forever. They would have become the “reluctant reader”. After a couple of back flips in the grave, my grandmother would have haunted me forever.
I have written nonfiction for many years. Some of you may be familiar with some of my writing ventures; my self-improvement blog, or my eldercare blog, my eldercare book and my numerous articles that have been published. I enjoy helping people. After publishing my book, Surviving the STRESS of Your Parents’ Old Age, I wanted to spread my wings to fiction. Realizing I needed another set of skills for this endeavor, I jumped right in to make it happen. I took many fiction writing classes. My writing fiction knowledge grew but I floundered in my writing goals. I needed a focus. Where does my passion lie? After a quick slap to the forehead with an “I could have had a V8!” moment I realized I wanted to help children through the “reluctant reader” years.
After this revelation, the idea for Saving Mim pounced on me and shook me like a rag doll and said “let’s rock”. Charlie Kadabra – Last of the Magicians was born. He and his magical friends came to visit me in numerous dreams. I flew on a dragon with Charlie as we fought the evil Dr. Pi. His magical friend, Fenek, slapped me awake one morning and demanded to be born. I was off and running on a story and I think it has been the most enjoyable story I have ever written.
Will I conquer my quest of the reluctant reader? We all know that one story does not make a child a lifetime reader. But, if Saving Mim could be the story that ignites their reading life in just one reader, I have succeeded. I know very few stories are instantly popular. I’m aware that it takes a lot of work and effective marketing to get a book into the hands of the potential reader. I’m not afraid to work hard to get my story into those readers hands. I know word of mouth is a powerful tool. If I could ask one thing of you, it would be to read Saving Mim yourself and if you enjoy it, spread the word and help get it into the hands of the reluctant reader. You never know, it could change their world and by activating their imaginations it could change ours in the process.
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