I love when characters make me laugh. This new middle grade – Will, Middle Name Trouble – has me in stitches. And, believe me I needed to be in stitches. My last book contained some brutal stuff and while there is redemption, it was heartbreaking getting there.
And then Will came into my life. Will’s dad walked out when Will was 6. He’s now 10 and the man of the house. He watches his 4-year-old twin sisters while his mom cleans office buildings at night. He cleans and cooks and does the laundry. And despite doing what no 10-year-old should be charged with doing Will survives. He’s clever and funny, and I can’t help but love his silly self.
After I finished my latest novel – which I also loved – Will wouldn’t stop bugging me. I’d see him in the kid at the grocery store or at the mall. I’d hear his voice. Feel his pain. And so I went with Will. And as much as I wish Will's life was different, I realize this is a journey he has to make.
I could coddle Will and keep bad things from happening to him, but I know that in the long run I’d only be hurting him. Will has flaws and dreams. He screws up and pays the price. And he learns. I’m learning, too, that sometimes it takes going through the bad to get to the good. It makes the good better and I’m more grateful.
I’m thankful for Will. He makes me get up early and stay up late to write. I’m always amazed at his tenacity and ability to push through, despite the unforgiving world. And I appreciate his humor, the way he can draw laughs out of me I didn’t know were there. Thank you, Will. I’m enjoying this ride.