I’ve been looking at what I enjoy the most about reading a book. The thing I’ve noticed is that the stories that really hit home are the ones that come into my life at the perfect moment. When I’m lacking inspiration, when I’m needing a pick-up from a harder part of my own life or when I’m at a crossroads in life.
Of Mice and Men came around when I was in my late teens, my final year of school, a time when I was staring down the barrel of adult life, not sure what would happen next. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series and Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files hit me when I didn’t have any inspiration.
I want to write something that will be part of someone’s development. I don’t think anyone could look beyond Harry Potter’s phenominal success within the younger audiences and the way it engaged the parents as well. When I was younger, we would be sharing the books within the family, all eagerly waiting our turn with Harry’s latest adventure.
What I’m looking to write is something directed at that vulnerable age between five and ten years of age. There’s plenty of kids books, heavy on the pictures and light on the words, that kids seem to grow out of really quickly. Kids want a book will want a book that engages them like the books for younger audiences would but at the same time have an adventure that isn’t just a Clifford the Big Red Dog Goes to the Zoo story.
I like to think I never grew up, like Peter Pan. My mind is still very much in the same place it was when I was ten, I still take the world in like a child, I relish trying new things and spend as much time as possible daydreaming.
One of my most cherished childhood memories would be sitting on the couch with dad or mum or a grandparent reading a book to me. I think if I was born 10 years later I’d probably be one of those kids who grew up with Harry Potter getting read to me but I found that there weren’t many stories that were targeted at that younger age. Potter, especially the later in the series were darker, probably not good for kids. Discworld is something more suited, but at times it’s a little too full on for youngsters.
So I want to write something that’s lighter, wizards, dragons and faeries. Stories about princesses, goblin kings and unlikely heroes sent on dangerous quests. This is what I really want to write, something I can read to my own children, that my brother can read to his children and my dad to write to his grandchildren. I think it can be done.