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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Looking for Young Readers

Have I ever told you the story of how I started writing? Just after my youngest was born, (who is now almost 8, thank you very much) I decided it was high time for me to put my foot down and start writing. I had been threatening to become a professional writer since junior high and I figured I was way over due to start on my road to imminent fame. Ha!

So, I put the family computer in a room with a door that could close and locked myself in there several nights a week after my husband came home from work and could take over watching the children. I wrote my first book in a couple of months. It was a wonderfully cleansing process for me to finally say. “See. I wasn’t kidding I really can be a writer if I want to!”

That first book has always been a favorite of mine, but it has been sadly neglected. I polished it to the best of my new found writerly skills and sent it off a couple of times. Nobody wanted it. In the mean time I began selling to magazines and sold my next books (now nonfiction) fairly quickly. Since the first book wasn’t as easily sold as the nonfiction I stuck with what worked until about 2 years ago when my husband dared me to try my hand at fiction again.

My first book got put away in the memory box. Every once in a while I think about it. Now 8 years, 8 books, and more articles and pieces of copy than I can count, later I’ve been thinking about it again.

Do You Believe in Ghosts? is a story I put together after wondering what it might be like to actually learn history from the people who lived it. So, I created a boarding school whose teachers were all dead.

I’ve decided it’s time to dust off that manuscript. I know I’ve grown and changed a lot in those 8 years, but hey I really liked that first book and I’d like to see it actually find a home some day. I don’t think it’s completely beyond repair and I think it’s time to see what I can do with it.

But. I’d like to do it in a weird way. I’m looking for kids who have an interest in reading fantasy to read my book before I ever open it again and start digging for ways to make it fabulous. See, that’s probably backwards from the way I should do it. Most writers would have cracked it open and made sure they weren’t about to completely embarrass themselves before they ever let anyone look at it. Then there’s me. I’m afraid if I went back through that book without truly knowing what I wanted it to become I’d over analyze it and ruin everything I loved about it. Make sense?

So, just below this post you will see the first chapter of a middle-grade reader I honestly haven’t looked at in years. I did not edit it before posting it. I haven’t read through the entire manuscript, even to find my hideous spelling and grammar errors. Here’s what I’d like to happen:

Have your child read through that first chapter. If it strikes their interest, let me know and I’ll send you an electronic copy of the entire book. They are then free to be brutally honest with me about what they liked and didn’t like about the book- anything at all that they would like to share with me.

If the first chapter doesn’t catch their attention, let me know that, too.

Okay, okay. If you’re an adult and have an opinion you can share that with me as well, but I’m most interested in hearing from the audience I want this book to reach. When they tell me what they want I’ll take on the gauntlet and see where that crazy book can lead us. Deal?

As always, Happy Reading!

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