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The Lightning Road series by Donna Galanti!
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Donna talks today about how she harnesses her inner child to write for kids and shares an excerpt from Joshua and the Lightning Road.
Harnessing Your Inner Child by Donna Galanti
Childlike wonder. What was yours as a kid? I walked along rock walls under the stars at night. Climbed trees to sing songs to the woods. And hid away in rose bush caves with a notepad to write my stories – all the while believing that magic existed.
What evokes childlike wonder? And as adults writing for children, how can we recapture that?
Regaining a childlike sense of wonder isn’t about returning to a childlike state, it’s about letting yourself be awed by the little things in your grownup life. The mundane every day is what can dull our wonder. And just because those little things happen every day doesn’t mean they aren’t miraculous.
But keeping your childlike wonder can be difficult when grownup duties mount. One winter day as I tried to write, I watched two kids sled. Their laughter and joy snapped me out of my trapped trance. I remembered being ten years old and how a whole day of sledding was magical.
And I realized now that in order to do my job well as a children’s author, and to find joy in it, I needed to rekindle my kid wonder again. How can we keep that kind of wonder with us?
My wonder list:
- Re-visit pictures of yourselves as a kid. Daydream about what you were doing in those photos. What were you excited about?
- Did you write diaries as a child or teen? Go back and read them to inspire that voice of youth in your own writing.
- Look at the world from a different perspective. Like the snow. I went out in it and made a snow angel and looked up at the sky. Something I hadn’t done in years.
- Create a new bucket list together with your kids or grandkids. What do they dream of doing that you could do with them?
- Read stories by your own children, or grandchildren, to see how they view the world in their words.
- Revive memories of being the age of your characters. Draw a map of the neighborhood you grew up in. Remember what you saw, what you felt, and how you reacted to events there and write them down.
- Act out a scene in your book, or any book, with dramatic flair.
- Face a childhood fear (mine was going down in our dark 200-year-old cellar where I had been sure dead bodies were buried in the dark hole in the wall).
In doing these things myself, I remembered how awesome it was to be a kid again and lost in the moment. And that every day as a kid was about being swept up in the magical moments. And I could once again be lost in the wonder – and the small things.
How do you harness your childlike wonder?
“One hundred. Ready or not here I come!” I said with more courage than I felt, pushing the attic door open.
Inky black swallowed me up. I darted my flashlight about, but its small, round light didn’t reveal much. The mustiness of old things hidden away filled my nose. Bo Chez, hurry home. The hair prickled on my forearms as the stairs screeched with each step and the landing loomed in front of me. Could a ghost with an axe be waiting to chop off my head? I took a deep breath, waiting for a blade to fall, but the only thing lying in wait was a dusty bookshelf.
“Finn-man, I know you’re up here.” I flicked the flashlight around the room, its cold metal warming in my sweaty palm. Thunder crashed over my head and my ears popped.
One more step forward.
“Got ya!” Finn jumped up, his shadow against the window. I tripped and landed hard on my butt. My flashlight twirled across the floor.
Then a blue arc of light struck the window. Glass exploded. Finn’s mouth froze in a wide ‘O’. I yelled and reached out to pull him down, but another zap of light blinded me. Finn screamed. Rain splattered my face, stinging with each drop. White dots floated in the air. Something gray billowed past me carrying a familiar, rotten stench that made me gag. A knobby hand grabbed me. I bit it and shoved it away, gagging again, and the hand dropped me back on the floor with the taste of salty dirt on my tongue. An angry howl blasted the air.
Daggers of light shot everywhere as sharp glass cut into me.
He floated in the shadows. Light erupted all around him, his eyes round with fear. The sky boomed overhead, and a deep laugh bellowed out as if the thunder itself were taunting me.
“Next time it’s you, boy,” a raspy voice said.
Wind shrieked around me in a ferocious wail, pulling me with it. I flattened myself on the floor and clung on tightly to the foot of a chair. The angry wind finally stopped. Rain pelted me through the broken window.
All was quiet. I lifted my head.
Finn was gone.
WATCH THE JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD BOOK TRAILER!
ABOUT JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD:
Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper learns the hard way that lightning never strikes by chance when a bolt strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever. Armed with only luck and his grandfather’s mysterious crystal, Joshua must save his friend by traveling the Lightning Road to a dark world that steals children for energy. New friends come to Joshua’s aid and while battling beasts and bandits and fending off the Child Collector, Joshua’s mission quickly becomes more than a search for his friend—it becomes the battle of his life.
PRAISE FOR JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD:
“Vividly imagined characters in a gripping action fantasy that never lets you go until the very last page.” —Jenny Nimmo, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlie Bone series
Joshua and the Lightning Road is available now through October 15th for just $0.99cents on e-book from these book sellers:
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2zwsiLx
Apple iBooks: https://apple.co/2NF5MZA
ABOUT JOSHUA AND THE ARROW REALM:
Joshua never thought he’d be called back to the world of Nostos so soon. But when his friend King Apollo needs his help in the Arrow Realm, Joshua braves this dark world once more in order to save him. With Joshua’s loyalties divided between Nostos and Earth, he must rely on his courage and powers to restore magic to this desperate world and to free its people. Abandoned by his friends in his quest, unarmed, and facing great odds, can he survive on instincts alone and not only save those imprisoned—but himself?
PRAISE FOR JOSHUA AND THE ARROW REALM:
“Fast-paced and endlessly inventive, this is a high-stakes romp through a wild world where descendants of the Greek gods walk beside you, beasts abound, and not everything—or everyone—is as it seems.” –Michael Northrop, New York Times bestselling author of the TombQuest series
Joshua and the Arrow Realm is available through these book sellers:
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2N3OYGG
Apple iBooks: https://apple.co/2xFU4Ea
Donna Galanti is the author of the bestselling paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine, a writing contest judge at nycmidnight.com, and regularly presents as a guest author at schools and teaches at writing conferences. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna also loves teaching writers about building author brand and platform through her free training series at yourawesomeauthorlife.com. Visit her at donnagalanti.com.
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