By Scott Fowler
As the parents of four children, my wife and I have long enjoyed the tradition of reading to the kids each night before bed. We have read aloud hundreds of books in this way over the years – everything from simple picture books to books in the “Junie B. Jones” and “Harry Potter” series as the kids have grown older.
“Lost on the Road to Nowhere” was my Christmas gift to our children one year. I planned to finish writing the entire book before reading it to them, one chapter per night, for much of December. However, in a weak moment prompted by a lack of sleep, I mentioned to the children long before I was done that I was writing a fictional adventure story with characters based on each of them.
This, of course, prompted the kids to constantly ask about when they were going to see this rumored story. I was sort of anxious for feedback, too. So I began reading the first chapters to them without having actually finished the book.
Our reading time each night is generally from 8:30 to 9 p.m. On several occasions, I literally would conclude typing that night’s chapter at about 8:29 p.m., hit “print” on the computer, grab the printout and run into the middle boys’ bedroom to read the next installment. I sometimes brought a pen with me, making changes as I went.
Since I have worked under deadline pressure for all of my adult life as a newspaperman, these nightly deadlines undoubtedly inspired me to finish the story sooner. I had a disappointed audience if that night’s chapter wasn’t finished.
The story was a hit with the kids, and then I put it in a desk drawer and figured that was that. I did not originally intend to publish the story for widespread consumption.
However, after some encouragement from those who read the first draft and some editing, I decided to self-publish in order to ensure I could keep the story exactly the way I wanted it. (And no, nothing like this ever happened in our lives, thankfully – we have never been involved in a serious car wreck as a family, nor have the kids ever been lost and on their own for many hours. Much of the dialogue in the book, though, comes directly from listening to the kids over the years).
As a sidelight to my main job as a daily newspaper sports columnist, I have written or co-written five non-fiction sports books for mainstream publishers like Simon & Schuster and Triumph Books over the past 15 years. My experiences in writing those books has been mostly good -- but not always. So since this book is an entirely different sort of story for me – fiction rather than non-fiction, geared to children instead of adults – I thought I would publish it in an entirely different way.
It was a pleasure writing it. I hope it can provide you, your children or your grandchildren a few hours of similar pleasure.
The easiest way to buy the book is on amazon.com. See the link at the end of this post.
The only thing I ask of you, dear reader, is that if you like the story or think you know of someone who would -- please pass the word. As a parent, I know that family-friendly adventure stories that are suitable for ages 8 and up are sometimes hard to find. I’d like others to know that this story is out there.
You can e-mail Scott at ScottFowlerBooks@aol.com for questions or comments about the book, as well as speaking engagements, signed copies, group discounts for bulk sales and so on. Click here to order the book from Amazon.com. -- you can get your own paperback copy ($7.99) or can also have it downloaded to a Kindle device or to your own computer ($2.99).