Today I am truly honored to have MacKenzie Cadenhead stop by to do a guest post for me.
I was give then chance to have MacKenzie do a guest post for me and I have to admit the first thing that popped into my head was “Why did you write Sally’s Bones and why should you read it?” because I absolutely loved it and this is what MacKenzie had to say:
Sally’s Bones started with an image. I can’t remember if it was from a dream or daydream, but I suddenly had this picture of a gawky, dark-haired girl with big eyes and dangly limbs smiling down at a super spirited skeleton dog. She was giggling and the dog was grinning. The image stayed in my head for months. I knew there was a story in that picture but I was editing comic books at the time and was far too busy to write anything myself. (And if you’re ever looking for the best career out there, editing comic books is it! Best job I ever had – next to this one.)
Cut to five years later. I had left comics to pursue writing picture books and I immediately returned to that giggling girl and her perished pup. I tried for weeks to write a picture book manuscript about their adventures but the story kept getting longer and longer with plot twists and middle school melodrama to spare. Pretty soon I realized this kid and her dog weren’t interested in a picture book for younger readers – they wanted a chapter book for middle graders all to themselves!
Though the mystery in Sally’s Bones is key (and was sooooo much fun to write), what really interested me were those larger themes of adolescence – those often difficult rites of passage that I can’t ever forget (try as I might) and that the image of Sally called to mind so clearly. Wanting to fit in (and not always succeeding at it); dealing with bullies (especially the ones everyone else liked); lunchroom tragedies and after-school triumphs; the horror of dodge ball and the ability to dig down deep and find the strength to show my face at school the day after the girl I thought was my best friend told me she didn’t want to hang out anymore. Too specific? Or do you know exactly what I’m talking about?
To me, Sally’s Bones is about all those things but above all it’s about the hope that if you stick it out long enough you’ll find the thing that makes all the tough times worthwhile; the thing – be it a person, a puppy, profession, principle, or purpose – that you’ll forever fight for.
I can’t say you should read Sally’s Bones – it’s not going to cure cancer or help you ace your math test – but I hope that if you do read it it’ll give you a laugh when you want one, a cry when you really need to get one out, and a friendly reminder that if you’re true to yourself and fight for what you believe in things can turn out more than a little bit right.
Thanks so much MacKenzie for stopping by to write this for me.
Sally’s Bones is now available to buy in your local bookstore.
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