Tracy Walshaw recently entered her first Young Adult novel, PAPER TIGERS, in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.
In PAPER TIGERS, Tracy’s young protagonist discovers a secret portal into a world of adventures.
By Tracy Walshaw
PAPER TIGERS is the story of Rigby Johnson, a nearly fourteen-year-old whose father, Ben, passed away just days before Rigby sees her mother climbing out from the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Worried the only responsible adult in the house has lost her mind, Rigby confronts her mom.
What her mother tells Rigby defies logic, which takes the storyline from tragedy to adventure, appealing to a tween and teen base alike.
Teens have things to do. A book goes beneath piles of Aeropostale hoodies if we don’t keep their attention. I decided I needed two things to keep teens reading: lots of action and a strong lead voice.
Most of PAPER TIGERS is told in first-person by Rigby, who knows nothing of the secrets in her father’s past. [ Excerpt: ]
I was still on my knees and Jude was on his bottom, and we looked at each other. I’ve never wished a dog could talk before, but at that moment I think I would have sold blood to have it be so.
With her father actions as a teenager being key to the story, I switched to third-person for these critical back-story scenes. [ Excerpt: ]
Ben took each step down the stairs slowly. Reverently, even. This was the biggest of birthdays. Never had he felt the electricity in the house more than on this night. This was the birthday to end all birthdays. Okay, not end. Ben hoped it would only surpass the others. And that he’d live through it with minimal discomfort and embarrassment.
My writing seems geared towards tragedy that makes the main character find hope. I have a very strong faith in God which has been a thread running through each novel I’ve written. It’s also strengthened me during my own recent tragedy, the death of my husband. We’d been together since high school and have four children. Three boys, ages 11, 17 and 20 and a girl, 7.
I’m lucky enough to have my children love my company for the most part and want me to be in the middle of their conversations, to watch while they play their X-Box, and look at their text messages from friends. Because of this, I have a front row seat to the authentic young reader, and to ’tween and teen voice.
The love of reading among teens isn’t limited to games and phone texting altogether. Just last night, I told my 17 year old that I’d ordered some old paperbacks on-line. I mentioned that one was S.E. Hinton’s THE OUTSIDERS. My son smiled big and said, “Mom, that is my absolute favorite book ever.”
This is why I write.