Hope you all have a booooo-tiful day!
In the spirit of the day, here are 5 things that frightened me writing this book (or, actually, the first 3 books of the series):
1. I was afraid kids wouldn't understand the concept; that it was too complex for them to realize the main character, a squirrel, was learning and evolving intellectually.
2. Kids would want a 'magic' explanation why the squirrel was smart and learning human things, like The Secret of Nimh, or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where a scientist creates a serum which gives the animals super intelligence.
3. The series might be too long- originally I had planned 6 books (but now the series will stop at 4 unless an enthusiastic editor shows up waving a contract).
4. The squirrel would seem like a person in a squirrel suit- and not give the reader the 'feel' of the main character, Jack, of being a squirrel kids might find in their backyard.
5. The science would bog the story down and kill the adventure aspect. There are several STEM sciences (evolution, simple machines like lever and wheel/axle, loss of habitat, machines, engineering a wagon for a squirrel- but no math!) which might seem like too much.
All these fears were terrifying!!! But writers push on--and they write the story. After editing, revising, beta reading, and a final polish, it was ready. As I'm wrapping the series up with the last book as my NaNoWriMo project, I've read through the previous books. I'm still laughing at the jokes, Jack's antics, and holding my breath when his war against the machines commences.
But I think it's come together; writer colleagues, initial reviewers and readers have given it a hearty thumbs up. At the Collingswood Book Festival, where the initial copies of Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines debuted, almost all the targeted age kids (7-12) bought a copy. They seemed excited about the science aspect and accepted that the squirrel learned without magic or scientists being responsible. And after the Harry Potter and other successful series, people in the book business see that kids love series. Stand-alones no longer have as much appeal, kids just don't want the story to end. As for the science, I tried to keep it in check, balanced with adventure and humor and tension. So far, it seems I've succeeded. I'll have to wait for further reviews--from kids who read the book.
If you have kids of this age, (or even if you don't!) enter to win a copy from Goodreads (click on the link). Help them leave a review here (please!) or a comment on my blog or Facebook. I'm dying to know....
what they think.
Tomorrow starts the insanity of NaNoWriMo which will see the finish of the series with the completion of book 4. If you're doing NaNoWriMo, good luck! And remember it's about getting the words down; not being the fastest, or writing the perfect manuscript or even completing the novel. Let's struggle--and succeed--together.
No tricks, all treats!