My ten year old granddaughter just phoned me. Over the school holidays she has been test reading my children’s novel, Keewatin. ‘I’ve just finished it,’ she said, ‘it’s really good. I loved the way it ended, the way they found …….’ ‘Only the way it ended?’ ‘No, I mean I loved it all, it was cool.’ ‘What did you like best?’ ‘It was like I was there. It was real.’ Then her mum’s voice in the background: ‘Tell him what you told me.’ Then GD: ‘It’s better than Harry Potter.’ ‘That’s daft. It can’t be. So why’s that?’ ‘It was like I was in the story. There was no magic, it was really real (sic).‘
Nice way for me to start to the day. To be fair to J K Rowling, GD has just finished a marathon read of all the Harry Potter books and has been watching the DVDs, so she is no doubt supersaturated with wizards and needs something different. Maybe other children are feeling that way about fantasies. Time will tell.
Ironically, when I wrote it in draft about ten years ago I intended it to be a ‘boy’s book’, to help address the lack of adventure stories for that age group. Then, perhaps stupidly, I put it away and turned to crime (well, you know what I mean), no doubt influenced by Ian Rankin’s growing success at that time. I told GD that unless I can get Keewatin published, then she will be the only one who will read it. She didn’t like that, she thought it was sad. I told her I would start attacking agents with it. She seemed happy with that.