"Arianna Kelt and
the Wizards of Skyhall" was my debut novel and I wrote the book when
I was 12 years old. About a year and a half later, and after a lot
of hard work, the book was published (in 2006). In 2008, the sequel,
"Arianna Kelt and the Renegades of Time," was published, shortly
after my 15th birthday.
Three years to get responses to my letters to J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Brian Jacques, and Chris Paolini. Less than a month to get requests through my publisher to pull down my inclusion of certain responses. Apparently, "the response was never meant to be publicly displayed" "those comments were personal and private for you only" "not meant to be shared."
I don't understand. Won't read my books, but do read my blog?
My friends seem to think the responses were meant to be mean and hurtful. I agree and even more after receiving certain responses. My letters were very polite. I simply asked if my enclosed book could be passed on to the author for reading and possible comment. I also pointed out that I had sent in a letter and book the two previous years and had not received a response.
Letters once a year for three years and finally responses. From Rowling’s people and I quote from the reply: “Jo Rowling is too important to waste her time reading other people’s books. If she did deign to blurb someone’s book, it’d be that of a Nobel laureate or someone else at her level.”
From Paolini’s people and I quote from the reply: "Christopher’s policy is that he doesn’t comment on or review books of other authors. Ever.”
I point out he has written a review of Harry Potter and commented on other books like a Dr. Suess treasury. The reply: “Obviously, you don’t have a clue. Those are Christopher’s peers. When you plant a few on the NYT list, you might get a comment too.”
From Pratchett’s people and I quote from the reply: “Mr. Pratchett would likely be delighted to comment on your book. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the time right now.”
To readers who point out Rick Riordan’s 39 Clues “borrows” the combined book-and-trading-card-and-web idea I came up with first for Wizards of Skyhall: I know, I know, I know.
Oh well, I tried my best, but I guess you have to have connections. I don't.
Maybe your dreams will come true even if mine didn't.
A HOLIDAY MESSAGE FROM J. R. KING
SEASONS GREETINGS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL! For those who may not know about me, my name is J. R. King. I’m 14 years old. I finished my first book when I was 12 and my book was published May 2006. My book is called “Arianna Kelt and the Wizards of Skyhall.” I spent a lot of time writing my book, and almost two years editing and rewriting it. My teachers, my parents, and my friends encouraged me to finish my book and find a publisher. I owe a lot to my fourth grade, fifth grade, and sixth grade teachers for believing in me. I finally found a publisher in 2005. It was hard work to find a publisher. I received lots of rejection letters, then finally I got a couple of acceptance letters from publishers who wanted to publish my book. I was so excited!
Just because my book is published it doesn’t mean all the hard work is done. My parents and I decided to go with the small publisher rather than the big publisher who gave me an offer on my book. I don’t regret the decision, but it is hard for small press books to be successful without help from readers like you. I poured my heart into my book. I wanted it to be a really good book, and I worked very hard to make sure it had everything I think makes a good book. I hope when you read it you think it's cool.
My favorite part of the book is how the wizards protect the people of earth from all the bad things, and how the wizards can step through portals to travel to other worlds and dimensions. I like how Arianna was a bad kid who becomes a force for good. As I wrote about Arianna, Meilan, Ranth, and all the rest, they became like good friends. The growing friendship between Arianna, Meilan, and Ranth is strong and an important part of the story.
I hope you like the wizarding universe I created. I tried to make it as real and complex as our own with strange new worlds and places to visit around every corner. My dream is to be a full-time writer some day. I haven’t given up that dream, and I will keep trying to improve my writing. I hope my dream comes true because it would mean all my hard work was worth it. The message I want to send to others my age is to believe in yourself, and always follow your dreams. Because what you want to do, you can do. I hope you will read my book and tell your friends about it.
I hope at least one of your dreams comes true this year or next year. My Christmas wish is simple: I wish for J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Brian Jacques, and Chris Paolini to answer my letter and read my book. I sent my book to them. It would mean the world to have my favorite authors read my book and write me about it.
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