Welcome to the neighborhood!
Meet Jack, Ellison, Roger, and Ruthie (and Midge!) — friends who live on ordinary streets but have not-so-ordinary adventures.
The first two books in this four-book middle grade series, ages 8-10, will be released from Moody Publishers in Spring 2021. It’s early in the writing process, but I’ll post updates along the way!
Book 1, Jack vs. the Tornado
When you move to the suburbs, there are some things you just can’t pack—like your grandparents (for obvious reasons) and the best fort in the world. But Jack Finch has a plan to get himself back to his beloved farmhouse forever. Only three things stand in his way: a neighbor in need, a Major Discovery, and tornado season.
Tree Street Kids, the series
The Tree Street Kids live on Cherry, Oak, Maple, and Pine … but their 1990s suburban neighborhood isn’t all quiet, tree-lined streets. Jack, Ellison, Roger, Ruthie (and Midge!) find adventure in every creek and cul-de-sac—and God’s big love in one small neighborhood.
Is this “clean” fiction?
This is a term being used a lot with juvenile fiction. The easiest way to define this is to compare “clean” to a PG/G-rated movie. By that definition, my books are G-rated. (Although, I recently saw the MILD PERIL warning on Disney’s Nutcracker, and I’m all in with that.) I write from a Christian perspective, and although the faith of some of the characters is an obvious part of their lives, my hope is that these stories of friendship will also appeal to kids of different traditions and backgrounds.
Where did I get the idea for Book 1?
“Is this a war?”
That’s what I remember thinking when it happened.
We were driving back from a family reunion on a long stretch of road that cut through Midwest corn fields . . . acre upon acre of green laid out like a welcome mat for tornados.
Our young family of four had graduated from camping beneath a fiberglass “cap” over the bed of my father’s pickup truck to a proper truck bed camper. My seven-year-old brother and I could lie on our stomachs on the platform bed and talk to our parents via a small pass through window that lined up with the sliding back window of the truck cab.
Unless of course the truck was clipping along and causing too much wind noise. Or the weather was bad.
Long trips down long roads in the dark tend to make little kids sleepy, so my brother and I didn’t notice when the rain started.
We didn’t hear the fear in our parents’ voices on the other side of the closed slider windows.
We didn’t feel the wind whip across the open fields. We didn’t sense the truck begin to lift off the ground so that my father could no longer control our direction.
We knew nothing until the wheels gained momentary traction, and my father whipped the truck over to the side of the country road.
That’s when I thought a war had started . . .