It’s not unusual for me to describe my chapter books as ‘weird’. My friends and readers prefer ‘creative’ or ‘imaginative’ or ‘fun’. But with my stories being a bit off mainstream, I find it hard to own their weirdness as a good thing sometimes.
Which is silly, for many reasons, but one in particular: it was never my aim to write a book that slipped into the main stream of children’s fiction. In fact, I actively avoided it.
My goal was to write for people like me. Who I am and who I was. I was a reader. I devoured books, but I quickly found children’s books to be simplistic and patronising. Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis were my remedies to this, amongst others, but when I started writing I promised that I wouldn’t talk down to children.
I wanted to write books that were creative and thrilling, emotionally real with no-holds-barred adventure. They were for young readers, sure, but young readers with maturity and intelligence and imagination who wanted more from books than what most books gave them.
Somewhere along the line, I lost faith in my creative purpose. Maybe my stories were too strange; maybe I should be using smaller words and slowing down the pace; maybe I should’ve scrapped the whole adult-protagonist-in-a-children’s-story thing.
But then I received the reviews below, and I remembered why I write the stories I do.
And now, all is well in the world.
“My son is in second grade, he has excelled at reading since the moment we began teaching him. He does not “like” to read though. I knew if I found the right books for him that he would change his mind and become a book lover. The caretaker of imagination is exactly what he needed! He was eager to read it every night before bed and was excited to tell me about the book. He is now reading the second book in the series. I highly recommend this series and will be buying everything written by Z.R. Southcombe for my little reader!” By Kari for The Caretaker of Imagination (see review on Amazon)
“These books are great, so many different things going on to keep the imagination going.” By Kari for Beyond the End of the World (see review on Amazon)