As a writer of young adult fiction, I try to keep an eye on the market. It doesn't take a genius to figure out the majority of YA authors are women writing books about and for girls. When I met Jim Devitt on LinkedIn, I knew I wanted him to do a guest blog. Not only is Jim a man writing young adult fiction, his baseball theme and protagonist, Van Stone in The Card are a winning combination for young male readers who have been largely overlooked in the marketplace. My librarian friend keeps saying, "Marilee, when are you going to write a book for boys? We need more!" In my defense, I have started one. Until it's finished, I plan to recommend The Card to parents looking for a good book for their sons to read. Welcome to Book Blather, Jim.
1. Tell us about your book, The Card.
Van Stone has it all, the perfect family, friends and the best job in the world. Suddenly, Van is thrust into a deadly plot masterminded by unknown enemies. Van is in a race against time to save those closest to him. As fresh as today’s headlines, this suspenseful ride blows the lid off scientific advancement, in a story of breathtaking action and suspense.
2. What inspired you to write it?
Many people, even close friends, are surprised to find me publishing my debut novel. “I didn’t know you were a writer?” is a line I have heard hundreds of times in the past few months. Thinking back, I have gone through life writing, just not novels.
I completed my Master’s of Education degree in Exercise Physiology, not exactly the normal path of an aspiring writer. Honestly, writing wasn’t even a thought at the time, because I was so busy … writing! I wrote research abstracts and full-length peer reviewed papers while conducting research in everything from diabetes and end-stage renal disease, to low-back strength in Professional Basketball players.
After a couple of decades of writing everything from research to advertisement copy to company public relations pieces, I realized that I loved to write. Now it was time to write what I wanted to write.
Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of paranormal romance, vampires and other creatures, in the Young Adult marketplace. There seemed to be a dearth of mystery/action/adventure in Young Adult novels that happen in our REAL world. Therefore, my initial reaction was that I could help fill that void. The result is the Van Stone Novel series.
The market for boys looking for mystery and adventure is somewhat limited. I wanted to produce another option for the teen/young adult that isn’t focused on romance. There is a brewing relationship, but it is not the focus of the story. Some people have described the novel as The Hardy Boys on steroids.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
First, I want them to have fun. The story is a true roller coaster ride. In the beginning, you spend some time getting to know the characters, but then, look out!
Beyond the fun, there is a message hidden inside. The growth that the main character, Van Stone, undergoes translates into some major life lessons that anyone could benefit from. My hope is that teens and young adults walk away with more confidence and a positive outlook in life.
4. Is the book based on someone you know or events in your own life?
I spent eight years working in a Major League clubhouse. There are stories to tell about what goes on behind-the-scenes in that exclusive club. I combined my experiences working with the Seattle Mariners and my love for a good action/adventure, to develop a mystery that is set in Seattle, Washington.
Additionally, I have a strong science background and incorporated cutting-edge advancements into the plot. While being fun, I wanted to have readers walk away knowing a little more about the direction of science and technology in the world. It’s not too heavy, fun certainly wins out, but adding a bit “what if” hopefully inspires some young minds.
5. Do you have any advice for other writers?
I always cringe at that question. By no means am I an expert. My advice, in its simplest form, is to follow that dream. Starting is the hardest part. Life, jobs and everything else always gets in the way. Once you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, your passion takes over. Spend a little time every day, whether its 200 words or 2,000. Each day you get closer to that dream.
6. What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler. My favorite authors include Stephen King, Randy Wayne White, Tim Dorsey, Cussler, and Dan Simmons.
The adventures of Van, Fred and Zoe are continuing. Currently, I’m deep into the next installment in the Van Stone Novel series. Originally, I had hoped to publish by the end of October, but the deadline looks to be more like yearend now.
The Card can be found at the following outlets:
Paperback edition https://www.createspace.com/3585708
Kindle edition http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004UAVMS0
Nook and iPad edition http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/50300
To find out more or to contact me: