Good news! The Canadian Children's Book Centre has nominated Leaving Fletchville as one of their Best Books for Kids and Teens for 2010. As well, I am now an official author/presenter on their website. Hoping this will lead to some more school visits through their website contacts.
The weather is hot and humid and just right for staying indoors and working away on some new projects. I have gone back to rewriting Top Ten (the novel about the small-sized 'National IDOL' contestant) and the story seems to be coming easier this time. At first I was writing it for a very small niche market: mature-interest level (high school and above) with a low reading ability, and about 15 000 words. When I sent it off the editors thought the story line was overly complex for readers of that level of ability. I had too much happening and the span of time was much longer than the typical stories of that type. Succcessful books for that age/reading ability, such as what Monique Polak has been writing, typically take place over a few hours or days.
So I am re-writing this as a higher reading level novel, with the same maturity level (high school). It also has to become almost twice as long as it is now. Top Ten deals with the lure of personal ambition, sexual abuse, thoughts of suicide, with drug/alcohol excesses thrown in. This plot goes way beyond any problems I had growing up (I am thankful for a good home!) and I am travelling deep into the world of my imagination about other people's nightmares. Years spent driving a taxi, teaching school, listening and trying to understand people and the troubles they told me has given me a number of stories and situations which need writing out.
Typically our 'Republican' side cynically sees most unfortunates as victims of their own wrong choices. I often judge this way myself. But wait! There are genuine victims in this world. 'Sid', in this story is someone born in a very small body who never develops the way a 'regular' boy would. His social abuse is typical of the teasing and nasty treatment which happens to those who are different. His personality is modified into a 'survival' mode by these forces - he is initially suspicious of anyone wanting to be kind to him.
Luckily the ending is positive.
I like to write in such a way as to give somebody who is stuck in abusive relationships a way out.
And I hope I never tire of positive endings.