Shoot for the Stars

Ever since I was little, I loved space.

I was awestruck in first grade when my school packed us into the library to watch the Columbia take off. I was equally devastated in 1986 in middle-school, I watched the Challenger launch with the first civilian astronaut on board, only to tragically explode moments after lift-off.

I’m a child of Star Wars, have seen Apollo 13 about thirteen times, and binge-watched the new Star Trek Discovery.  Depending on who you ask, I’m still twelve at heart or just a big geek. Either way, there’s something mind opening about the idea and possibilities of space. There’s a built-in optimism; a frontier mentality of dogged determination to overcome any and all obstacles that JFK called on in his famous moon-shot speech:

“William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.”

I first dreamed up the idea for ‘Alienated’, about two siblings, Sherman and Jess Capote who find themselves as the only two human kids at the high school for aliens at Area 51, eight years ago when my eldest son, Caden, was only a one.  It was a story I just couldn’t shake; and I wrote compulsively. But other books and other projects stopped me from finishing it.

Until now.

Today, Caden turns nine and he’s become a prolific reader, with taste ranging from Horrid Henry to Harry Potter and from Wimpy Kid to Atticus Claw. I wanted to have ‘Alienated’ be available to him, and his cohort of readers while they were still young enough to dream big but old enough to handle the nuances of the story. Someone recently likened ‘Alienated’ to Harry Potter meets Star Wars, and if you throw in the comedy of Men In Black, that sounds about right.

Caden (aged 6) with Commander Chris Hadfield

The book deals with friendships, new school, bullying, and the tension between fitting in and standing out.

I’m delighted to share it with the world today, but most of all delighted to share with a very special birthday boy. And as I write in the dedication… shoot for the stars.

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