Friday, November 7, 2008

Guest blogger - client Max Elliott Anderson

Did you know that by the age of 13, children have already made most of life’s important decisions? This is especially true when it comes to their moral and spiritual choices.

After this age, the percentages become even more dramatic. Young people from 14 through 18 have only a 4% likelihood of making positive spiritual decisions and adults have a 6% chance that they will ever make these choices. So it is clear that some of the most critical patterns for a lifetime are decided during the tween years. This is that awkward time between still trying to be a “little kid” and being all grown up.

As a child, I grew up as a reluctant reader. In a family of seven children, I wasn’t especially pushed to read, so I never formed good reading habits. This was ironic because my father has published over 70 books. A number of these were children’s books.

A few years ago I decided to look into some of the reasons for my lack of interest in reading. My findings lead me to begin writing Christian chapter adventure and mystery books, for readers 8 - 13, that I would have liked as a child. My books are highly visual, with lots of humor, dialog, and plenty of heart-pounding action. Early responses from children indicate that I’m right on target. Reluctant and avid readers now devour each new title as it is released. Parents are also vocal in their appreciation for books that are reaching their children.

Marketing executives will tell you to find a need and fill it. But this isn’t exactly the way I got started. Quite clearly I felt God’s direction to begin writing. How that came about is a story in itself. After much resistance, I began. My purpose was to craft books that would excite the interest of reluctant readers.

After a detailed study into why I didn’t like to read, and looking at books that were written for children, I set out to write the kind of stories I would have read when I was a child. My research also took place at the height of the Harry Potter phenomenon. It bothered me to see young children so caught up in something that celebrated the dark side. I chose to write primarily for boys 8 – 13. This was because most of the books I found were written for girls, and a majority of the authors were women. Many of the books for boys also tended to glorify the dark side.

A further target audience I wanted to write for was boys who might be without a positive male role model in their lives. I felt that if I could tell a good story, the spiritual, moral, ethical, and responsibility elements could then be tucked away in their minds. Hopefully, at some time in the future, those concepts would be useful when these boys became men.

The biggest surprise, outside of the fact that reluctant reader boys love these books, is that avid boy readers, girls, and even adults do too. When I first began writing, I decided that if I could help one reluctant tween boy to become a reader, it would be worth it. From the emails and letters I have already received, that goal has been reached many times over.


Alison said...

It's wonderful to have Christian authors write specifically for boys this age. Good influence is needed so badly.
In my relatively small community, I work for a community anti-drug coalition. We've found that, statistically, the average age of first use of alcohol and some drugs is twelve years old...tragic and often preventable. Thank you for letting God use you as a positive influence.

Edward Hancock II said...

As a father of a 10 year old "reluctant reader", I am grateful that writers such as this exist in the world! Thank you, Mr. Anderson. And thank you, Mr. Burns, for helping bring his writing to the world!