I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read and didn’t want to write.
Before I could type, in junior high school, I was writing a series of short stories longhand in blue ink on noteboook paper. They were about a science club of kids my age, mostly launching model rockets to do some kind of research or solve some problem one way or another. That’s because I’d been addicted to the hobby since I was in seventh grade.
The stories were awful, of course, because they were written by a junior high school kid with virtually no knowledge of how the world works. But at the root of them were the germs of stories worth telling.
I kept writing them and reshaping them after I taught myself to type on my mom’s ancient Underwood typewriter at about age 15. In college, I thought I could develop the stories into a children’s Saturday morning television program. It couldn’t have been much worse that some things that were already on the air! (I’m thinking Ark II, Space Academy, etc.)
The students of the Skylark club grew as I did, and sometimes their names and some other specifics changed as well. If you’ve read the first book, The Water Cure, you already know that I’ve alluded to these stories — and the reference continues in the other two books.
In fact, an experiment with a water pressure-powered model rocket recounted in The Crystalline Clarity could be a hook into a fourth book, if I ever go there!
Skylark became the name of the Apollo capsule that begins the adventure of The People of the Water Cycle, and of course, an incident with the astronauts’ mission patches leads to it becoming the name of a model rocketry club of younger characters.
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