Update on my next book

The follow-up to “Murder in Wauwatosa” will be something much different. My first effort was a true story that involved tons of research, interviews and days spent in front of a microfilm machine reading gobs and gobs of newspaper articles.

The book I’m writing now is a fiction kids’ book focusing on a sixth-grade boy who moves to a new town, tries to fit in and encounters a haunted house. Tentatively called “The Hillcrest Heights Kids,” the manuscript is about halfway done … at least the first draft of it anyway.

The main character, Donnie Hart, moves to a middle class suburb from a big city and finds some things about his new town aren’t quite like what he left behind. He tries to adjust to his new school, new kids and new neighborhood, with varying success.

Donnie gets befriended by a boy named Robert Underwood, who is known by most everyone as Woody. Donnie’s new friend isn’t very athletic nor really all that intelligent, two traits Donnie sees himself having an abundance of. But Woody seems to have Donnie’s back pretty much from the start at John F. Kennedy Elementary School, which endears him to Donnie.

He also makes friends with a girl in his class, Annie, a bright, level-headed compassionate soul.

In addition to his own sometimes misguided thoughts about himself and the world around him, Donnie’s main adversary is the school bully, Lloyd Goldberg III, who pretty much doesn’t seem to like hardly anyone.

Here’s the part I haven’t written yet. But I think it’ll go something like this: Donnie and his friends somehow end up going to the creepy old Howard Mansion, the old house owned by and old man and his old wife. Strange things have been going on at the Howard Mansion for years, and our heroes investigate.

Donnie will probably live happily ever after, or at least with a clearer view of himself and the people around him.

Much of this book is inspired by real events that happened in my hometown of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, when I was young. But I stretch the truth, inserting events, places and characters for my own amusement and/or your entertainment.

Most of the characters are based on people I’ve known, sometimes quite loosely. Some characters are even a conglomeration of several people, and some of those folks aren’t even people I knew when I was a kid.

It’s been a fun trip so far as I’m up to about 24,000 words. I’m aiming for close to 40,000, at which point the story better have concluded. Then, I’ll go into editing and rewriting mode. I reserve the right to change the names of characters, streets, schools, towns, as well as change story lines and pretty much everything I’ve done thus far … all in the name of entertainment, of course.

When I feel pretty good about the manuscript, I’ll start looking for a publisher and perhaps an illustrator. I think this book needs some drawings.

I’ll try to update everyone as developments occur.

Thanks for your interest and support!

Paul

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