Posted in Guest Post, Middle Grade on August 6, 2013

StoreyBook Reviews would like to welcome author Marilyn Levison today.  She is the author of Getting Back to Normal, a book I read, reviewed and truly enjoyed!



Why I Write For Kids


Like many writers, I read voraciously as a child. Once I mastered my letters, I was off and writing short stories. In my senior year of high school I took a creative writing class. Almost every week I wrote a short story, which I then rewrote after receiving the teacher’s comments. I’m sure he didn’t mean his criticisms to be unkind, but they cut me to the bone. “Vague characters” was one. I can’t remember the others. And so I worked diligently to correct my errors, writing then rewriting, and earning a poor grade for my efforts. Is it any wonder that I decided to major in Spanish in college instead?

Years later, when my two sons were young, I took a few writing classes. I wrote short stories and poems, then tried my hand at writing my first novel, a romantic suspense. The opening scene came to me in a dream, which I still remember: a young woman is pursued by a gangster (so she thinks) who tells her that her husband owes his boss a large gambling debt. I finished the book with the help of Roberta Gellis, my friend and mentor, then went on to write a novel about a girl who moves to upstate New York and befriends two ghost children. I never sold either book, but remembered Roberta’s telling me I had the knack of writing for children.

My next project was a kids’ book. AND DON’T BRING JEREMY. This is a novel about  two brothers. The older, Jeremy, has disabilities. I’m happy to report that this book sold, was a nominee for six state awards, and is currently available through my publisher, Untreed Reads in all e-forms.

I went on to write more books for children, each with a different theme. I love writing as a boy (Adam in AND DON’T BRING JEREMY), a girl (NO BOYS ALLOWED,) having magical powers (RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK,) and befriending a ghost (GETTING BACK TO NORMAL.) Could be I write about kids because I’m still one at heart. Or maybe it’s because I can call up childhood memories and remember how I felt when I was young. Many changes have come about since I was a girl–electronic devices, for one, the evolution of language is another. But the basics–family, school, friends, dreams and disappointments–remain the elements of life.

Recently, I’ve been writing mysteries and romantic suspense. And then last year I surprised myself by writing a children’s book. RUFUS AND THE WITCH’S SLAVE, a sequel to my award-winning “Children’s Choice” RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK, takes place in the South of France. Rufus, his best friend Billy, and his new friend Danielle save a young girl from the clutches of an old, mean witch. I had fun writing about Rufus’ expanding his magical powers, falling for his first girlfriend, and rescuing a kidnap victim. Writing about young protagonists is exciting because kids are constantly growing, exploring, and developing new abilities and strengths. They fail, they make mistakes, but they come back twice as determined and raring to go.

Some of my books are more serious—getting past a parent’s death, one’s parents’ divorce, accepting a brother’s disability. My protagonists have difficulties to overcome, but they persevere and triumph in the end.

Writing about kids keeps me young in spirit and offers me the promise of hope for the human race.


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