Many writers can pinpoint the exact moment they had the idea for their book. Today, Jody tells us her inspiration for the Gollywhopper Games.
I may not have written The Gollywhopper Games if it hadn’t been for a bit of serendipity and especially if it hadn’t been for an unsatisfied 5th grade boy.
I was volunteering in the elementary school library, checking in books and minding my own business ...
Okay, not really minding my own business. As a budding author, I was keenly aware of which books interested the students. I often watched the same books move around classrooms like a hot rumor.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had been very popular with the 5S classroom that year. Some kids had yet to discover the old version of the movie and the new one was year from being in production. So the first experience they had with the story was directly from the Roald Dahl book.
The young man who returned it that day approached the librarian. The conversation went something like this:
5th Grader: I loved that book. Can you help me find another one like it?
Librarian (moves to the shelves and looks): There’s a sequel called Charlie and the Glass Elevator but it must be checked out. How about one of these. (Librarian pulls out The BFG, Hatchet, and Half Magic.)
5th Grader: They’re not the same.
Teacher (moves forward and speaks in his patented non-library voice): What’s the problem?
5th Grader: I want another book like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Teacher: There are no other books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but there are other books I guarantee you’ll like. (Teacher leads 5th grader to other shelves and shows him titles I can’t see.)
5th Grader: (keeps shaking his head)
Teacher: But the guy in here ...
5th Grader: (shakes head)
And the scene continued until the end of the period. I wish I could report which book the 5th grader eventually checked out. The fact is, I was too energized by this scene to pay attention. It had led to a decision on my part. I’d played around with picture books and with early readers, afraid to tackle longer works. But someone had to write a story for that 5th grader, and that someone was going to be me.
Now check out the book trailer!
We can't wait to read it and I'm sure fifth grade kids everywhere feel the same way!