Monday, August 27, 2012

Guest Post from Jackson Keene: Combining Action-Adventure, Historical & Contemporary Fiction for Boy Readers

Today I'm delighted to bring to you another guest post, this one from author Jackson Keene, on books for boy readers. He has combined genres in his novel NOLICHUCK! TJ'S WILD FRONTIER ADVENTURE, and it sounds like Jackson's truly hit the mark.

If you are interested in appealing to boy readers, also check out my guest post from Andy Sherrod in addition to Andy's blog

Here's Jackson:

It’s been my experience––both as an avid reader in my own youth as well as what I know about middle-graders and high school male readers of today––that guys in general are just as demanding, detailed, and devoted bookworms as the girls.  We just like different kinds of reading.

Most boys and men like action and adventure.  Loads of it.  Preferably with shooting, fighting, and necessary fatalities to the bad guys.  But without being gratuitous or gory.  Plot twists, intrigue, subtleties, and a little romance are fine, too, with a greater amount of amorousness allowed for the more mature.

But as a group, males devour strong action.  And we also like to see the underdog win.  Overcome overwhelming odds.  The truth is, ordinary guys who wind up doing extraordinary things are more appealing to many of us than reading about superheroes that are always expected to come out on top.

This is exactly what I’ve attempted to do in NOLICHUCK.

What I’ve also done is written a tale that combines historical fiction with contemporary fiction:  A lot of adventure and a touch of young romance in the distant past, followed by continuing big adventure and a little love in the present.  Not so much amorousness that it turns off the pre-teen and teen male reader.

Our hero, TJ, is just an ordinary fourteen year old kid with extraordinary problems at home and school:  A broken up family from his parents’ bitter divorce, evil bullies almost every afternoon, failing grades, boring classes, snobby girls, mean teachers, cut from basketball tryouts, few friends. 

Life is rough for him.  His confidence is below ground level, and his courage is suspect.

And then that mysterious little green book had to go and throw him into the past.  And not just any past, but into the untamed forbidding forests of 1802 eastern Tennessee along with the savage Indians, wild beasts, bloodthirsty robbers, backwoods ruffians, and log cabin living!  Yup, it’s definitely not 2011 Knoxville anymore.

And he thought his present life was bad news!  But TJ’s adventures are only beginning.  Along the way, he fights off killer beasts and bandits and braves, meets the young Davy Crockett, gains a world of confidence in himself, finds his first real love, and is befriended by a fantastic frontier family who really has it together.

When he returns to the present, he’s a brand new person––but there're killers loose in his house, bullies waiting to beat him up at school, a pretty new girl at Highland High he's hasn't even seen yet.  And the aftermath of the little green book to deal with!

Links to Nolichuck:

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