FORCHILDREN


BUY FROM AMAZON__BUY FROM AMAZON
THE DOGWALKER (1979)
BUCCANEER (1977)

AUTHOR'S INSIGHTS
I HAVE WRITTEN TWO YOUNG ADULT NOVELS, ONE FOR EACH OF MY CHILDREN
– ONE ABOUT A GIRL AND HER HORSE, BUCCANEER; THE OTHER ABOUT A GIRL
AND A DOG. THE HORSE STORY CAME FIRST, WHEN MY DAUGHTER SARAH, THEN AGE TEN, CAME TO ME ONE DAY.

"MOM, WILL YOU HELP ME WRITE A STORY?" "SURE," I SAID. "WHAT DO YOU WANT TO WRITE ABOUT?"

POOR CHILD. A HALF-HOUR LATER I WAS SHOOING HER AWAY. "GO AWAY, I'M
WORKING." I WAS LOST IN THE STORY. I THOUGHT I KNEW WHAT THE BOOK WAS
ABOUT – A GIRL AND HER PONY, THE HORSE SHOWTHAT SHE WOULD WIN. I
WROTE FIVE CHAPTERS AND CAME TO A SCREECHING HALT. I WANTED THE
BOOK TO GO ONE WAY AND ITWANTED TO GO ANOTHER. I PUT THE STORY AWAY. TWO YEARS LATER I FOUND THE OPENING FIVE CHAPTERS, READ THEM AND SAW THE PROBLEM IMMEDIATELY: THE BOOK WANTED TO TAKE OFF IN AN UNKNOWN DIRECTION.

"WELL," I SAID TO MYSELF, "I CAN ALWAYS GO BACK IF IT DOESN'TWORK OUT
AND WRITE THE STORY I KNOW. LET'S SEE WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I TRUST THE
STORY IT WANTS TO TELL."

EVERY DAY I RACED TO THE TYPEWRITER (NO COMPUTERS THEN) TO SEE
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN NEXT. I WOULD WRITE FIVE OR SIX PAGES – AND
EVERYTHING WOULD STOP. IT WAS THE SAME AS WITH THE PRESIDENT'S
ANGEL
: I NEVER KNEW FROM ONE SENTENCE TO ANOTHER WHATWOULD
HAPPEN. BUT WHEN THE BOOK WAS FINISHED, IT WAS . . . PERFECT! FAR
BETTER THAN THE DULL TALE I HAD THOUGHT UP.

LATER, PREPARING FOR PUBLICATION, I THOUGHT, "THIS ISN'T ABOUT A GIRL
AND HER HORSE. IT'S ABOUT A GIRL AND HER FATHER." AND LATER, GOING
OVER GALLEYS, "GOODNESS! THIS IS ALL ABOUT SEX!"

MY FAVORITE FAN NOTE? FROM AN INNER CITY, BLACK, 13-YEAR-OLD BOY, WHO
WROTE THAT BUCCANEER WAS "THE BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ." NOW THAT'S
A COMPLIMENT!

BY THE TIME BUCCANEER WAS PUBLISHED, MY SECOND DAUGHTER, MOLLY,
HAD GROWN TO BE TEN OR ELEVEN. OOPS! I'D WRITTEN A BOOK FOR HER
OLDER SISTER, AND HERE IT WAS IN HARDCOVER, HELD IN HER HANDS,
DEDICATED TO HER. I SAW MOLLY'S EYES AND KNEW I HAD TO KNOCK ONE OUT
FOR HER. THIS SPARKED THE DOGWALKER! FORTUNATELY FOR ME, A LITTLE
EARLIER, MOLLY HAD TAKEN A JOB WALKING THE DOG OF THE SECRETARY OF
STATE, WHO LIVED AROUND THE CORNER FROM US IN GEORGETOWN. THAT
WAS THE BEGINNING OF A ROMP OF A STORY IN WHICH COCKY NORTON GETS
A JOB WALKING ISABEL, PET BASSET HOUND OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE,
AND LOSES HER CHARGE. IT'S ABOUT BUMBLING TERRORISTS WHOWANT TO
PLANT A BOMB IN THE DOG'S COLLAR TO BLOW UP THE SECRETARY OF STATE
AND THE MID-EAST PEACE TREATY HE HAS FASHIONED. IT'S ABOUT COCKY AND
HER SKATEBOARDING SIDEKICK PSI ILYCH (WHO IS NOT WHAT HE SEEMS). IT'S
ABOUT WASHINGTON POLITICS AS SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD (AND
A DOG), AND OF COURSE THE CHILDREN MUST SAVE ISABEL AND BY
EXTENSION THE WORLD.

IT'S A PERFECT MOVIE. I WON'T DESCRIBE MY DISMAY AT HAVING SIGNED AN
OPTION FOR FILM RIGHTS THAT ALMOST GUARANTEES IT WON'T BE MADE
– THE OLD, OLD STORY FOR FAR TOO MANY WRITERS.