Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Kelpie: Trusting Children's Intellect by T.J. Wooldridge


You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, you write it for children. - Madeleine L'Engle

"One of the (many!) cool things about working with is that I know our rights sales person and we occasionally get to hear feedback from people who want to buy rights for the various books--be they foreign publishers or movie or TV execs.

For The Kelpie, I received rejections saying that it was too complex for them, particularly TV or movies. They didn't say it was too scary, at least, but we'll get to that.

Thing is, I had about a dozen beta readers in my "target demographic" - kids 11-13--and they all followed it fine. My crits from them were mostly on how my kids spoke and, especially, how they texted and wrote on Facebook. I also got word from several teachers, librarians, and booksellers that they needed advanced reading for kids in this age bracket. They were running out of stuff.

That warmed my heart.

One of my most admired authors, one who was a light shining through my childhood thanks to her books, is Madeleine L'Engle. I still see kids carrying her books around. Not but a few years ago, they were all re-released with new covers.

There has yet to be a movie or even mini-series that has done any of her work justice.

Maybe it's not so bad to be "too complex." That's why we read, right? Books are written because they are the best medium for the stories they tell.

I wrote The Kelpie for readers. I wrote it for kids.

I've always believed most kids are smarter than adults give them credit for. Goodness, I know plenty of kids who are smarter than most adults sometimes. In fact, I would even offer that kids lose some of their spark the older they get, the less they believe. I also believe children are braver than adults. They have to be.

As a kid, everything is still new. And scary. You don't know a lot and you're thrust into situations they don't know and they have to flounder and figure it out. That's normal life. A kid as to adapt faster than adults. New schools, various family events, changing friends, changing enemies. What you say and do can change things in big scary ways.

Magick exists. Magick is the power of the unknown. The things not yet discovered. It can be amazing and helpful. It can also be terrifying. Deadly.

In books, for children, it's another thing to adapt to.

Heather, Joe, Rowan, and all my Kelpie kids come up with some pretty unexpected and imaginative ways to cope when magick and the dangerous monsters that turn their world upside down. They have ideas that adults wouldn't have. Plans that just might work because they haven't "grown up" too much to discard an "impossible" idea--the idea that just might work.

They don't disbelieve in the magick. It can hurt them but it can work for them, too. Because they believe.

Most writers I know share that quality with kids: We haven't "grown up" too much to discard our "impossible" ideas.

Don't let anyone tell you that your magickal ideas are impossible, either. They might just be the ideas that work!

Happy Halloween!"

T. J. Wooldridge's debut novel, The Kelpie, from Spencer Hill Press, will be available through all bookstores (request it if it's not on the shelf!) and Amazon on December 3rd. You can pre-order your copy today from , , or your favorite local bookstore!

The runs every other day October 23-October 31. Join us all five days for Halloween fun! Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour!

Thanks to Trisha Wooldridge for her guest post. Be sure and visit the other blog sites for fun Halloween-themed posts (including my guest posts). Coming up on Whimsical Words on All Hallow's Eve: a bit of Halloween lure from yours truly.
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