Elle Stauss, the author of YA time travel Clockwise, brings us her first middle grade, It’s a Little Haywire. I loved it and immediately thought of Because of Winn-Dixie as a comparison title. It’s that good.
Owen True is eleven and eleven twelfths and has been “exiled” to the small crazy town of Hayward, WA, aka, Haywire, while his mother is on her honeymoon. All he has to whittle away the time is the company of Gramps, his black lab Daisy, and his Haywire friends, Mason and Mikala Sweet. They don’t look so hot this year, in fact, the whole town has gone to pot since the mill shut down.
Owen has his first encounter with a real life homeless man who ends up needing Owen’s help in more ways than one. But how does a rich city kid help the small town’s suffering citizens?
And what is Owen to make of the fog train and its scary, otherworldy occupants that appears out of thin air on the old tracks behind Gramps’ house? Do they have the answer Owen is looking for?
And now I’ll hand over the blog to Elle!
The Story Behind the Story
It’s a Little Haywire is actually a major re-write of one of the first stories I’d ever written, way back in the day when I thought I’d like to try my hand at writing. The execution of the story was terrible, but the main idea had potential.
It came to me one night as I was falling asleep. I’d heard a train whistle, much like I had when I was child visiting the small town where my grandparents lived. I must’ve dipped into a slight dream state, because we didn’t live near train tracks at that time.
But that was the seed of the idea for the mystery train.
My oldest son was ten when our family spent some time in Germany and he wrote my parents emails about his adventures. I came across the letters last year and discovered the voice of my main character, Owen, in the voice of my son. My parents were visiting during this time, and my dad’s the guy who has a song for every situation. Suddenly, I had the two main characters and the story just clicked together. (So, yeah, that part at the beginning where I say characters resembling real people is just a coincidence–not really true in this case J.)
Both sets of my grandparents came from the same small town in Saskatchewan, Canada. I visited there every summer and clearly remember how long and stretched out the days felt and I spent a lot of time helping out in massive gardens.
You never know what life experiences will trigger creativity!
Of course, people having to deal with hardship due to tough economical times is something many people can relate to right now. I imagined how a recession situation would effect a small town like my fictional Hayward, WA, and combined with the above, turned it into IT’S A LITTLE HAYWIRE.
And right now it’s FREE on Amazon. Just for today and tomorrow!
Facebook : Elle Strauss – Author
Thanks Elle for stopping by with It’s A Little Haywire!
Congrats Elle on your new book. It’s amazing how the pieces of the story fell together from your different experiences in life. Thanks for sharing.
Your novel sounds wonderful, Elle! I’m adding it to my reading list. 🙂
Hope you’re having a great week, Laura!
It sounds like a great story!!! Too bad my kids don’t have eReaders (and I only read YA).
This is great that everyone is helping Elle get the word out.
I think nearly everything we right is a little auto-biographical in certain ways. I mean you can’t write characters if you’ve never known people.
Anyway, sounds great. I’m off to download.
You never know where inspiration comes from. The book sounds great.
Cool! I always like knowing the backstory to a story.
Very cool! It looks like a sweet story. ^_^
Thanks for having me, Laura!
I just finished Winn-Dixie, so the comparison made me prick my ears. I love those rare times when neat ideas come to me during semi-waking dreams, and the neat connections to real-world things.
Thanks everyone! Even as an adult, I really enjoyed this middle grade.
Very cool. Loved reading about the real life inspiration behind the story and rewrite!
Good luck with your book, Elle! Look forward to reading it!
Reading about this book everywhere, sounds like a perfect read!!
Love this story behind the story! Cat and I read it and thought it was cool that “Ms. Elle” worked in a massive garden, and that her grandparents lived somewhere named Saskatchewan. 😀
I’ve heard the sound of a train in the distance before and been inspired. Something about that lonesome sound. :o) Great post, guys! <3