Please welcome Patrick Craig today.
When I was a kid, I was an avid reader of the Hardy Boys Mystery Series by Franklin W. Dixon. Starting with The Tower Treasure, my brother and I waited faithfully for each volume as it came out. When we knew that it was time for a new book we would start checking at Dan Reeders, our favorite store in Walla Walla. Dan Reeders was one of those great kid hangouts where you could buy model airplanes, monopoly games, Topps Baseball Cards with a sheet of bubble gum included with the Larry Dobe rookie card and most importantly, the Hardy Boy books. By the time I went away to college I had 68 books in my collection. So along with Zane Grey, the Hardy Boys were probably one of my greatest writing influences and I always wanted to write a series like it.
In 2007, after years as a songwriter, I had started to think about writing a fiction book. One night I had a dream in which a favorite Aunt who had always encouraged my writing appeared in my dream and, with that well-remembered stern look in her eye, pointed her finger at me and said, "You write!" The next morning, as I was reading the local paper, I noticed an ad in the classifieds: "For Sale, Ghost Dancer Ranch." I immediately had an idea for a mystery story in the tradition of the Hardy Boys, based on the Ghost Dancer Ranch. I cast about for some interesting characters and my two granddaughters, who are indeed called Punkin and Boo, came to mind. Now I had "The Adventures of Punkin and Boo" and the first book, "The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch."
The whole story literally came to me in a few moments and I set about to write it the next day. I put as much of my granddaughters real personalities into the book as I could. I wrote it chapter by chapter and posted it as a serial on my blog. I got good response to the story so I decided to publish it. I went to a few writers' conferences but couldn't find anyone interested in the story. So I contacted a Christian partnership publisher and put it out myself.
That was 2007. It languished in the back shelves on Amazon until last year when I pulled out the book and re-read it. "This is terrible writing" I told my wife. She encouraged me by reminding me that it was my first book and I hadn't really paid attention to the finer points of my craft back then–you know, all the stuff you learn at writers' conferences. So I re-wrote it, re-edited it, got a new cover design from Kirk DouPonce and here it is–a much better book, and doing well in reviews and sales. And that's how The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch came to be.
Thanks for sharing today, Patrick. Have your granddaughters read your book? What questions do you have for Patrick?
Also a reminder that any comments will be entered into my monthly drawing. This month I'm giving away this:
Hope you have a great weekend.