Today I did one of the most exciting things that an author does. I sent my signed contract in to a publisher. I'm thrilled to announce that my book, MIDDLE SCHOOL MAGI: THE KINDLING will be published by Cedar Fort Press. I don't yet know what the release date will be, that will be assigned by the publisher later on. For now, I'm thrilled. I have worked on this project for 2 1/2 years now. For various reasons, it's been kind of complicated and has taken longer than normal to get to this phase.
This book is quite close to my heart because it takes place in a small, private middle school and features the close relationship between three seventh graders and a slightly rotund, sweater-vest wearing theatre and choir teacher who happens to have a Ph.D. To be honest, the character is not based on myself. Rather, he's the teacher I wish I was.
If you've visited my blog much at all you know that next to my family and church, teaching, my students, and my school are the other great loves of my life and this book is sort of my love letter to those last three items.
I wrote this book at a time when I was at a particularly low ebb in my career. Some students and their parents had hurt me terribly. It was unintentional, but I was deeply discouraged. But for the bad economy, I probably would have left teaching, or at least my school (that would have been a terrible, terrible mistake as the years since have been the happiest of my life).
Feeling the need to pick myself up a bit, I thought about writing an adventure that featured close bonds between students and a teacher--it was sort of a vicarious way to ease the rather sharp pain I was feeling.
While thinking about that, one night my family got home from church on a stormy Wednesday night. My son said they saw a creepy guy in a black cape walking across people's lawns in a heavy storm. Why would such a person be out on such a night?
That got my mind thinking and those two lines of thought converged. I stayed up late that night writing two climactic battle scenes--one that happened at the beginning and one that happened at the end of the book. I could see these scenes clearly, like a movie in my mind and I couldn't type fast enough to get the words on the page.
Then, I filled in the rest of the story between those two points. And then I revised and revised and revised and revised. And revised.
At any rate, I love the story and the characters. I should add that the characters are not meant to be portraits or portrayals of anyone. It's true that some of the teachers in the story were suggested by colleagues, but they quickly evolved into their own people and are not meant to be representations of anyone specifically. Still, I suspect that those lucky enough to be in the Harding Academy community will think they recognize some of the characters.
I'll be updating all this as I get a release date and so on. I'm already dying to see the cover. That won't happen until closer to the release date, but my publisher does amazing covers and I'm anticipating it already. I'm also planning how I can do a really cool book trailer and t-shirts and, and, and---
If you are interested, you can read the first chapter by clicking here.
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