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“Why I Write Kids’ Books” – A Post by Author Majanka Verstraete

I’ve been asked on numerous occasions, by my friends and family, even by complete strangers, why I write kids’ books. People seem to think it’s an easy question for me to answer, but it isn’t.

I started out writing young adult novels. When I started writing these novels, I’d barely grown out of the young adult stage of life myself, so it was easy to relate to the characters and to describe their day-to-day world. But the more I wrote in this particular genre, the more I wanted to expand my horizons.

The day I came up with the story for Valentina and the Haunted Mansion was a dreary, rainy afternoon. I should’ve been studying for an important test for university, but instead I thought about this book. The idea was simple: a vampire girl moves into a mansion and finds a ghost, aimed at kids—the picture book I would’ve died to read back when I was a kid.

I hesitated though, because it had been years since I’d even touched a picture book. But I figured, since picture books are short, why not give it a shot. A few revision rounds later, I submitted the manuscript, and here we are.

After finding a home for Valentina and the Haunted Mansion with Evolved Publishing, I was inspired to keep writing for kids. I came up with the idea for the Weirdville lower grade chapter book series, starting with The Doll Maker, not long after signing the contract for the Valentina series.

In the Valentina series, it’s all about how even monsters can be scared of other monsters. It’s about showing kids that they shouldn’t be afraid of imaginary monsters.

I wanted to bring some of that magic to an older audience in the Weirdville series. The books’ protagonists are all kids, and they’re struggling with something dark and evil. Through their courage, intelligence and determination, they fight this evil—and they may or may not win.

When I was a kid, I loved scary books—the scarier, the better. There aren’t enough scary books out there for kids—preferably the kind that gives them a slight scare, but doesn’t keep them up all night—and the books that are there, like the Goosebumps series and Christopher Pike’s series of kids’ books, all date back from the 1990s. Kids want something new, something fresh, with protagonists who have cell phones and know how to use the internet. I wanted to fill that gap with the Weirdville series.

Like I said, it’s not an easy question to answer. On the one hand, I feel like there aren’t enough kids’ books out there in the genre I want to cover—speculative fiction, horror in particular—and on the other hand, I want to show kids that you’re never too young to overcome your fears, and to fight evil, in any shape or form.

One thing is for sure, though: I love writing kids’ books. It allows me to use my creativity in a way I never thought possible. For young adults, you have to explain stuff, like why there would be a monster under the bed. Kids don’t need explaining—they already know the monster is there, they just have to figure out if they’ll be afraid of it, or if they’ll befriend it.

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Majanka Verstraete’s series are expanding in December, with the addition of Valentina and the Whackaddole Witch, House of Horrors, and Fright Train, all releasing on December 9th.

FIND MAJANKA’S BOOKS HERE:

Valentina_Haunted_Mansion_300dpi_200x286Amazon US
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Kobo
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Weirdville_Doll_Maker_300dpi_200x320Amazon US
Apple iTunes-Books
Barnes and Nobleicon
BookieJar
Diesel
Kobo
Smashwords
Sony
Amazon CA
Amazon UK