Posts Tagged ‘Chris Morphew’
Monday, March 28th, 2011
You don’t have to work very long as a writer to learn that there are certain questions readers never seem to get tired of asking:
What made you want to become a writer?
Where do you get your ideas?
When is your book going to get turned into a movie?
(I’m always slightly suspicious of that last one.)
Another question I’m asked fairly regularly – presumably because of my involvement with the Zac Power series – is Why did you decide to write for reluctant readers? It’s a great question, and with enough time I’m sure I could come up with a very articulate response (something that made me sound good and noble), but here’s the honest answer:
I’ve never made any conscious decision to create a career out of writing for reluctant readers. It all happened more or less by accident.
Zac Power, my first writing gig, was a series custom-designed with reluctant readers in mind, but none of that was my doing. I jumped onboard at book #13, long after the target audience had been established. Zac has done great things for reluctant readers, and I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of that, but all I was doing was working to the existing template.
And if anything, when I started working on my current series, The Phoenix Files, I thought I was breaking away from the constraints of a “reluctant reader” audience. I moved from short, simple, self-contained stories with one or two leads to a heavily serialised six-book arc with a cast of dozens. I introduced drawn-out mysteries and abstract science fiction concepts. I wrote entire chapters featuring almost nothing but dialogue. In short, I was writing the kind of series that reluctant readers are not supposed to be interested in.
But, apparently, no one told that to them.
As it turns out, my great departure from reluctant readers was no such thing, and I am constantly amazed by the number of humbling, heart-warming emails I receive from parents of formerly-reluctant readers – or even from the children themselves – telling me how The Phoenix Files has helped to change their mind about books.
And, understand me here, I don’t think this reaction is due to any special brilliance in my writing. My stories just happened to be the ones that resonated with this particular group of readers.
But it does make me wonder if we have a tendency to get a bit too fixated on uncovering a magic formula for “curing” reluctant readers when, at least for some of them, the solution may simply be a case of finding the right book for the right child.