Thursday, January 14, 2010

Coming Soon! "Arnie Avery"... A Boy, A Brother, A Bully, and a Whole Bunch of Birds

I'm very excited about my latest book for 8-12 year olds. It's called "Arnie Avery" and it's due out mid 2010. Here's a run-down on how I came to write it.

I was at the local pool with my children. They were busy swimming and I was busy watching - not just them, but everyone else in the pool that day. I spotted four teenagers mucking around, chasing each other in the water, having fun. One boy seemed to be the leader. He spent most of his time splashing one of the girls, while the other boy and girl tagged along. They barely looked at each other and didn’t say a word. These four kids intrigued me. How did they come to be at the pool? What were their names? What were they like? I started thinking they'd make great characters for a story, when someone else caught my attention. An old lady walked her way up and down the pool past them. She wore a rubber swimming cap and she was very large. I couldn’t stop staring at the way her arms wobbled when she waded through the water, yet the four teenagers barely noticed her.

I knew right then, that I wanted to write a story about them. I had my characters and I had a setting – the pool. But something exciting needed to happen with them before I had a story. Maybe someone could drown? No...too obvious. Maybe one of the kids could become a champion swimmer? No...not interesting. What if the boys got into a fight? I liked that idea, and I thought kids might like it too.

Those thoughts stayed with me, and I couldn’t get the characters out of my head. I knew if I didn’t start writing, they’d never go away. So I wrote. I had no idea of where the story would take me, but the more I wrote, the more I got to know the characters. They became real to me – especially Arnie. I knew exactly what he’d say and how he’d say it. I knew what he was feeling because I felt it too.

It took a few years before I finished writing about Arnie Avery (he was actually called Arnold Pigeon back then). I’d write a little, then I’d move onto another project. But I always came back to Arnie because I knew he had more to tell. It wasn’t until about the fifth draft that I realised Arnie had a brother. The story grew and grew – kind of like the way a plant grows. At first it was a seed. Then it grew shoots, and then branches. Each little branch was a new part of the story about Arnie. Who knows? Maybe Arnie still has more to tell. One day his story might grow to be the size of a Moreton Bay Fig!


Alexander said...

I am impressed by this great idea of yours
the site is amazing!
i cant wait to read this book!

Sue Walker said...

Hi Alexander
Thanks for your nice comments. I hope to show the cover for "Arnie Avery" soon.

Trish said...

This sounds like a wonderful story. I get ideas like that when I'm bush walking down by the river. I love listening to children talking. I pick up their dialogue and use it.

Sue Walker said...

Hi Trish
I like listening to children too. I love their humour - it often takes me by surprise.

jason007 said...

Can't wait for the launch at the Kids & YA Literature Festival NSW WRiters Centre 3rd July - come and celebrate with Sue for the fabulous book