A while back, I saw an author of adult fiction tweeting about how hard it was for her to go from writing for adults to young adults. I thought back to when I had written Messages from Henry, a novella for young adults.  That story began as a 1500 word short story for a short story contest. I didn’t win, but I decided to expand the story anyway.  It’s a story about a homing pigeon, Henry. He has special abilities.

At that time, I didn’t have internet service in my home. I would take my laptop to a local library for that. It’s a very small library in West Fork, Arkansas with a population of approximately 3000. I got to know many of the young library patrons. I thought to myself, the best way to find out if young people like my story is to ask them. I asked many of them if they wanted to read it. They could hardly wait. Some of them got printed copies, and others got email copies.

One of these people to read it was a male eleven-year-old child prodigy. His mother read it first, to ensure it didn’t contain bad words or adult material. She loved it. Once the child read it, he told me he felt I should write a series, and make them picture books. All of the young people got back to me and said they couldn’t wait to read more about Henry (the pigeon hero).  They all had ideas as to where they wanted Henry to go, the people they wanted Henry to save, and all of them begged me to never kill Henry.

So, you see, there are unique ways all of us authors can conduct research, and find Beta readers. If you write for children or young adults, try this. Go to the young people and see what they think. Ask them what they would have happen next in your story, which characters they like the most, things like this.  One thing that shocked me was that those I asked to read my story looked up to me. They had just met their first author face to face.

I’m now writing a sequel for this book. Unfortunately, the young people won’t be reading it. It’s being written for adults only. Henry goes to England!


You can find Messages from Henry here: Amazon UK: http://t.co/srMAL7 US: http://t.co/6ncPTIZ  smashwords http://t.co/WCIy6Pj Goodreads http://t.co/N1i0OLa

 My blog is here: http://scarberryfieldsforever.blogspot.com