APRIL IS ALL ABOUT AUTHORS…AND A LOVE OF READING STARTS EARLY
Jodie Brownlee wanted to be a genie when she grew up. Then she discovered a genie could spend centuries locked in a bottle, so Jodie decided to write about them instead. Although she writes about Ruby’s adventures, Jodie has quite a few of her own.
She’s crossed the Rajasthan desert on a camel, plied Asian rivers on an elephant, driven a tuk tuk in Sri Lanka, dived with sharks in Sydney Harbor, parachuted from a biplane, visited a witch doctor in Africa, and drove the Mexican Baja in a rusty VW beetle , picking up two stray Aussies and a crusty old hippie in need of a beard trim along the way. Jodie has now settled in Colorado with her husband and their adopted cat, Lola.
JODIE BROWNLEE’S THOUGHTS ON WRITING…
I devoured more books between the ages of 8 and 12 than at any other time of my life. For me, it was a period of turbulence in which I dealt with divorce, school bullying, death and other life challenges. It was also a period of special friendships, laughter, and magic moments.
I knew there were middle grade novels that dealt with ‘issues’, but I found them depressing, even exhausting. When I read, I read for pleasure and entertainment. I read to escape. I read happy stories with mystery, magic, adventure, friendship and humor; stories with plucky, clever characters. My favorites were The Hobbit, The Famous Five and Anne of Green Gables. Incidentally, Anne cheerfully helped me to deal with life better than any story about ‘issues’ ever could.
Books transported me to bolder worlds, and the characters inspired me to become a better person by adopting their strengths. At no time since have I been so affected by the stories I read, or remembered those stories so vividly. The stories I read then helped to shape the person I ultimately became.
Remembering this makes me aware of the responsibility I take on when I write for that age group. My key focus is on entertaining, on taking the reader on the adventure of a life time from which they return a little stronger, just like the protagonist. As authors we become role models through our protagonists. With this comes the duty not only to entertain but to be sure our characters’ actions have appropriate consequences.
An author once created a protagonist who texted while driving, drank underage, and swore in front of her parents, all without consequence. This author may have wanted to entertain her readers, but she wasn’t doing it responsibly. As adults, we all know that honesty, kindness and good manners ultimately have better consequences than dishonesty, cruelty and rudeness. We have a responsibility to be true to this knowledge in our writing, especially when writing for middle grade readers. I have never been moved by a protagonist who conducts themselves badly, experiences no consequences, and learns nothing.
I care about my audience. I want to entertain them, certainly, but if my stories have an impact on their lives, I want it to be a positive one.
Jodie Brownlee writes middle grade fiction and her books are available through Amazon in paperback and kindle. For More information on Jodie CLICK HERE TO VISIT JODIE
ABOUT THE BOOK – Jodie Brownlee’s Ruby trilogy – The Magic Carpet, The Traveler’s Telescope, and The Doomsday Curse – have been entertaining middle grade readers with a blend of the familiar (magic carpets, genies, and a magic mail-service) and the unusual (including Hobbit-like creatures called Spriggans who dwell in the sands of the oasis).