Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why I write Children's Fiction

I never thought I would write kid's books, honestly. Obviously, I started in with them and loved reading, my entire life, really. I remember every family reunion, showing up with my book, looking desperately for a place to hide away and read. But I started in to adult fiction (Fantasy, primarily) at a fairly young age and never really looked back. Every once in a while, I'd re-read something for nostalgia's sake, but was woefully out of touch with current trends.

Well, apart from Harry Potter, Lemony Snickett and Percy Jackson, I guess. I knew of them, but had only read the Potters, which Lindsay is obsessed with. However, when my wife suggested that I tried my hand at writing, a small germ of a novel appeared in the back of my head. I'd been writing a horror novel for a while, pecking away at it in my spare time at work, but the idea of starting fresh in a new world was irresistible. I also found out about a contest for a publishing contract and I couldn't resist.

So 11 year-old James "Smith" Campbell was born. The son of two scientists and book smart but a little introverted, Smith got his nickname after an attempt to run away and live at the Smithsonian. Sent to live with his aunt and uncle in a small fishing village called Moonstone Bay on the coast of Washington, he learns to make friends and explore the new world he finds himself in.

I really wanted something that showed my appreciation and love for the Pacific Northwest and the kooky things that are rumored to live in the area. The Whispering Ferns, my first novel in the area was about a ghostly figure in the woods, but even as I planned the book, sequels were brewing, with sea monsters, missing tribes, magic ravens, secret passages, pirates and sasquatches.

It really wasn't something I thought I'd love so much. Both the writing and the characters, but I found myself falling in love with the genre again. I re-read my old favorites - Bellairs, Dahl, Banks, The Hardy BoysAnd I picked up some of the new novels - I especially love Skullduggery Pleasant.

I had - and have - concerns that my books are a little old fashioned. Today's protagonists are are lot more cynical and worldly, while I made it a point to make Smith's books exist in a kind of timeless place. When things were a little more innocent.

I had some interest in the book, an agent wanted to see more, but nothing really ever panned out there. She liked my ideas, but they weren't modern enough. Luckily, e-Pubbing came along. But more about that later.

In the end, I loved writing for kids and plan to continue. If nothing else, I'd love it if the quiet boy in the corner of a family get together at some point in the future is escaping with one of my books.


1 comment:

  1. Writing from the heart is the key. Then you can tweak. Thanks for your warm wishes on my blog today.