I'm so excited today to host Author Janet F. Smart and her latest novel DUCK AND COVER. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy your visit.
Isn't this an adorable cover? Sure makes me wonder what's about to happen.
Duck and Cover
Published by Saguaro Books
By Janet F. Smart
Released February 2017
After his dad dies in an accident at work, twelve-year-old Teddy Haynes and his mom come back to live with family in rural West Virginia. They hope to start over, but some people say the Russians are going to blow up the United States. How can they start over, if the world comes to an end?
He finds his life filled with talk of bomb shelters, a cat and dog that don’t get along, clinging two-year-old twin nephews and a pretty girl he’s too shy to talk to. To help cope with their fears, Teddy and his friends convert an old cave in the woods into a bomb shelter. Will they be able to work together and pull through the tense-filled months during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962? And will Teddy be able to overcome his grief from the loss of his dad?
The inspiration for this middle grade book came from a flicker of a childhood memory. When I was young, I remember going to my aunt’s house with my mom and another aunt. I remember them being afraid and saying that the world was coming to an end. It took me a while to figure out what this memory could be about, but I finally realized that it must have been during the Cuban Missile Crisis. So, I wrote about the incident from the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy. I added three friends, a cat, a pregnant dog—and a brownie recipe.
The first paragraph hook:
I survived the long drive from Cleveland. Now if I could just survive the Russians, I’d be okay. Some people worried they were going to blow up the United States. Mom and I had come back to West Virginia to start over. How could we start over if the world was coming to an end?
The first version of this manuscript that I can find is dated 2012. It was only 20,000 words. And 360 of those words were the lyrics to a song (Monster Mash). Of course, that had to be taken out. There have been many more changes to this story since then. It took first place in a writing contest in 2015. At one time, there were five recipes in the book. Now there is only one – brownies!
Teddy is the main character, but I really love his best friend, Melvin—he is quite a character. Teddy’s family has a naming tradition. They name their children (and pets) after presidents and/or their wives. Teddy carries a worry stone with him wherever he goes.
My advice to writers:
Never give up. Get critique partners, keep improving on your manuscripts and send them out. They can’t be published if the only one who sees them are you, your critique partners and the insides of your computer.
You can find Duck and Cover on Amazon in paperback and kindle.
A little about Janet:
The author, Janet F. Smart, lives in picturesque West Virginia. She is the mother of three grown boys. She enjoys writing for children, bringing her thoughts, dreams and imagination to life. When not outside enjoying nature, she sits at her writing desk, her inner child flowing onto the paper. She writes a monthly children’s column for a regional magazine, belongs to WVWriters and loves writing poetry, picture books and middle grade manuscripts.
Connect with Janet on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/wvsmarties, her writing blog http://creativewritingintheblackberrypatch.blogspot.com and her author page www.janetfsmart.blogspot.com
Janet is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter on this post, continental US only. Get extra entries when you share this post to Facebook and/or follow her writing blog. Janet will select the winner next Monday and we'll post it here.