Back when I was a firefighter the chief discovered I was a writer with a short story published. He volunteered me for a children’s reading week at a district school. I walked in the school gym and mingled with several other neighborhood people who had volunteered. Since I was in full dress uniform I got all the attention from the elementary students . What surprised me were the comments of the children regarding firefighters: “Firemen can read?” “Is that really your name in that book?” Apparently firefighters were illiterate sorts, Neanderthals, who couldn’t read or write. Most of the children told me their fathers didn’t read books; “only the paper.” Many of my male friends and ex-colleagues have rarely cracked a book. Could it be they never found anything interesting while growing up?
Few firefighters write books. There’s plenty of non-fiction in Canada written by them but no fiction. I’m the only one in Canada writing eBook mysteries featuring a firefighter. Unfortunately it’s an adult book.
Whenever school and children’s groups toured my fire station there was always a definite excitement. The older the group, such as Boy Scouts, the higher the interest. To keep this interest going, with regards to books, there was little around save for picture books. A chapter book/juvenile novel with firefighters and fire trucks could continue to build on the excitement. Literary books are a tough sell for boys. In my situation, I’ve written several juvenile/middle grade novels yet it’s never occurred to me to write one about firefighters. The high interest angle is essential to attract children, especially boys, to books. Perhaps a few firefighter novels in the genre would turn on more boy readers and therefore more men readers. Maybe I’ll write one.
I was at a provincial park in Saskatchewan several years ago and watched a mixed group of tweens goofing around near the beach on a hot day. One boy sat on the grass reading. What kind of book could keep a boy away out of the sun and water? I walked over to him and saw it was a Harry Potter novel. That’s when I realized the power of attraction in those books. Thank you J.K. Rowling.
Aug.31/11 Not much interest around for renaming my 2nd firefighter novel entitled Fire and Ice. The first draft is on chapter 21 and at most I have two more chapters to write. My Beaumont writers group will see chapter 21 in a few weeks. I’m hoping Gerry’s War will be at eBook retailers before the end of September. I’m waiting on the cover configuration from my son. I’ve also submitted the above article to http://www.storytimestandouts.com/ where I hope to be a regular contributor on their blog.