I love to write. In particular, I love writing for tweens, teens, and even kids who are all grown up. In the past I hadn’t asked myself why I enjoy writing so much. But today, with a little analysis, my conclusion is simple…it’s probably in the genes. It’s certainly in the family. My cousin, Heather Haven, is a successful author who wrote the Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series and my aunt and son have also dabbled in writing.
Delving back into childhood memories, I remember my father at holiday gatherings seated in an armchair, a flock of kids gathered around him as he wove stories for them. Our favorite tales were his fictitious adventures as the “Sheriff of Applesauce County.” For years all the youngsters in the family believed they were the absolute truth and Grandpa had been a sheriff in the Old Wild West. When he died two of his adult grandsons came to the funeral parlor with a toy sheriff’s badge and slipped it into his pocket.
I’d often amuse my own grandchildren with tales of a “pretend” land. Though I loved to read and never passed a day or night without spending some time with my nose in a book, it didn’t occur to me to put my make-believe stories into writing. I was an artist, busy with family, teaching, and using my free time to paint or sketch.
However, little by little the urge to write grew and I began to study writing. It seems to me there’s a strong link between visual and literary art. Author Brad Meltzer said he loved “to paint with the written word.” I believe writing is “painting with words” and at this time in my life I’m having lots of fun “painting” in this way. I’m especially drawn to writing for youngsters. It seemed natural to elaborate on some of the stories I’d told to my grandchildren and to use them as a foundation for a book. The result was Betwixt and Between, a novella for tweens (ages 10 to 14), and my first published book. It is now available as an e-book and in print.
It’s the story of Michael, a thirteen-year-old boy, whose guardian angel sends him on a spiritual Quest to find out who he truly is. He travels though a fantasy land of fun, adventure and… Danger! Among the friends he meets are a young French girl named Callie and super-intelligent Professor Nomolos. He also finds a strong enemy blocking his way. Blackjack opposes him at every turn. Will Michael overcome all obstacles to complete his Quest and return home? Will he discover who he truly is? I found the replies to these questions as I wrote, allowing Michael to lead the way.
I’m now in the process of “painting” a sequel to Betwixt and Between entitled Above and Beyond, in which Michael’s daughters, Carly and Anna, will make their own fantasy journey of self-discovery. I’ll be traveling with them. Wish us luck.