Updated: May 11
When I set out to write Ninja Squirrel and the Nut of Destiny, I began with a little research. You are probably wondering what someone could research related to a fictional story that takes place on a magical island with made-up characters that are, of all things, squirrels. Haha, I say! Such research can be done. My desk became littered with books on ninjas, articles on various nuts of the world, the lifecycles of squirrels, and wonderfully, the following beloved stories:
1. Redwall by Brian Jacques
2. Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter
3. Fire Bringer by David Clement
4. Watership Down by Richard Adams
5. Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky
6. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
7. The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
8. Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten (Walt Disney adaptation pictured).
9. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
10. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Why would I consider children's books as research? I wanted successful examples of the type of stories that draw readers in. (I also may have wanted to re-read more than a few of these just for fun.) And that sense of fun was something I wanted to capture in my story as well. I wanted books with heart, that had endured the test of time and brought joy to thousands of readers, young and old. And I wanted to see if I could successfully execute what I had learned in Ninja Squirrel and the Nut of Destiny, too. I hope one day soon you and other readers will be able to tell me that I have succeeded, or at least kindly suggest where I may have gone astray. It is very hard for a writer to judge their own writing. And writing about squirrels does make one go a little, well, squirrelly after awhile. I won't be surprised or offended if you think Ninja Squirrel and the Nut of Destiny is a little *ahem* nutty. (Or for that matter, the person who wrote it). I personally prefer my stories with a bit of a crunch but to each their own. ANYWAYS, although I may be setting my standards high, I hope that the Ninja Squirrel series can capture the attention of young readers and teach them the joy of reading that I once learned. And when I begin to doubt myself (which happens more frequently than you would think) I look to a saying I keep near my desk:
"Shoot for the moon. If you miss it, you will still land among the stars."
Norman Vincent Peale