Posts Tagged ‘middle-grade novel’

I believe you have to write from your heart, and about what you believe in. Then, you hope that others will find it interesting too.  This book came from all of our hearts. I am only an interpreter. Like, most ideas, this book started off as a “what if.” It started from the following:

I watched two of my three grandsons leave the only home they really remembered and start a new life. They braved a thousand mile journey, in a Plymouth Caravelle, in ninety degree heat, without air-conditioning and with their eighteen year old (oldest) brother.  Every time we stopped, we traded places in the front seat to give everyone a break. We had no idea they were coming home with us or we would have brought the van.

The youngest walked out with, basically, the clothes on his back. Since he only owned two pair of ripped jeans, some worn shirts, two pair of underware and a single pair of shoes that were one and a half sizes too small, that wasn’t a big deal. The older of the two took only clothing and items he had paid for himself. He locked what he wanted to take in his foot locker and when we had no room for it in the trunk, he left it behind.  He left all his CD’s and some Memorabilia that he can never replace. They also left behind their beloved siblings and dog.

They came here and started a new life, in the modern world. They attended school for the first time in their lives, found out what people are like, made some mistakes, and battled life. They have had good friends, and been taken advantage of a few times. The eighteen year old is an EMT now, but has one more year of high school. He had to start as a freshman to get credits. He wants to be an RN and we finally convinced him to take a break from working (they have worked all their life) but he is now returning to work after having a few months of being able to attend ball games, dances, etc. They both volunteer at the Township Fire Department and the younger boy is in the Nashville City Choir.

The younger boy came to us at age thirteen and read at a second grade level and did third grade math. He could barely read anything over three letter words and could not write. His inability to write put him down for a disability and he was put in special ed in Jr. High so that the teachers could give him the time needed to catch him up five grades of missed schooling. 

Why are home schoolers only required to report their curriculum? I think every home schooled child should have to test ever two years to make sure they are being educated.  And, if there are problems, then the system can help them. 

Two years later, he entered high school as a regular, mainstreamed student. That’s not to say he doesn’t have some struggles. He does. He will never be able to write as he should. It is a skill he needed to learn at a young age.

His testing took several weeks and during that time I started reading to him. Each night, I would read a chapter and he would read a paragraph. His reading was halting, word by word, and the only book he was interested in was the Harry Potter series. The only way I got him into that was to let him watch the first two movies. That’s all we had at the time. Then he wanted to buy the third movie and I said that I would buy it but only after we read the first three Harry Potter books.  By the time we got to the end of the series, he was reading on his own.

I have written all my life. I was Quill & Scroll in high school, on the school paper, have taken writing classes every chance I got, I enjoy writing essays but not short stories, I’ve been in writer’s groups, written a picture book and several starts at others, and have a first draft mystery novel. This time I approached it as a professional. I write seven days a week and the internet has allowed me to do research like never before.

I read fantasy novels when I was young and enjoy the imagination involved. In the beginning we sat down and brainstormed. It had to be about three boys who leave their home and leave their sisters behind. They find a magical world. Pretty soon, I was stopped them and saying, “What would it feel like to be shrunk?”

I decided that I would take as much magic as I could from Native American mythology.  I have a few words in here that I have yet to find an interpreter to tell me how to pronounce them. I believe it will be unique enough to find it’s audience. After working on it for over two years, with a lot of edits in sight, I’m still excited about it and have a long road ahead for it.

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