Manuscript for Beetle Boy
I have sold Beetle Boy to Carolrhoda Lab and I am so happy about it. It is another novel narrated by a sensitive boy--like Nate Wilson, tortured but noble in his integrity and his compassion. It has set me to thinking about why I am now so much more comfortable writing in the voice of such a boy--Pete Shelton, Nate Wilson and now Charlie--especially considering that my earlier novels were so girl-centered (a good example: The Melinda Zone). Perhaps it is the adolescent boys I have known since I first started writing for teenagers and my appreciation for their struggle. Somehow I believe in a wellspring of romanticism and emotional innocence in boys that no longer seems possible for girls, given what society asks of girls in the 21st century. Girls need to be harder, more wary, more defensive, more angry. With a boy, I can create a reluctant warrior, a sweeter creature torn by sexual longings and sexual ignorance. An adolescent confused about manhood and yet wanting to be manly in the best sense of the word. That is Charlie. I am so fortunate to have a manly editor to keep me in line regarding Charlie's voice and Charlie's dilemma. Think there is another essay in here somewhere.