When I was in 8th grade, my mom, my brother and I all moved to the farm where my grandparents lived. We lived in the little white house where my great grandparents had raised their two daughters, next door to my grandparents' house they'd built sometime during the late fifties or early sixties. My mom was going back to school to study computer programming, and living on the farm allowed her to save a lot of money.
Here's the old barn that my great grandparents built when my grandma was a little girl. When she was just eight years old, her parents sent her down to the river bed with a buckboard and she gathered rocks that would be used for the barn's foundation. I love old barns - there's just something about them that are cool.
"Town" as my grandma called it, was six miles away from the farm. If I wanted to go see friends, I had to get someone to take me, or ride my bike (which I did a lot the summer before my freshman year).
Sometimes it's fun to write about places you don't know. It's fun to do research and learn about interesting things about faraway places. And sometimes it's fun to write about places you do know. Writing The Bridge From Me to You was a little bit like going back to high school - revisiting the fun parts. Because the thing about small town life is that if you can't find any fun, you make your own. And there is something pretty special about that.
I hope that teens from small towns enjoy reading a book that probably feels a little like the place they live. And I hope teens who don't know what small town life is like have fun "visiting" somewhere different from what they know.
Next time I'll answer the question - why half verse, half prose?