Friday 17 August 2012

#OBSummer #Books - Ford 99 - Dr. Von Thistle's Curious Concoction (The Miss-Adventures of Amy and Tracy)

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Genre - Middle Grade Time Travel
Rating - G
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What a great idea, I thought. Take page 99 from my novel and talk about it. I checked out page 99 of my book and realized it was the end of a chapter. There were only 2 ½ sentences on page 99.

Really? 2 ½ sentences? How the heck can I dissect 2 ½ sentences?

Not to be deterred, I decided to take the challenge and go with what little I had. So here it is:
The Miss-Adventures of Amy & Tracy: Dr. Von Thistle’s Curious Concoction is not just a really long title; it’s the first book in a time travel adventure series for girls. My protagonists are exceptionally bright eleven-year-old cousins living in the year 1958. I chose to place the story in the late ‘50s for a couple reasons, one being that it’s such a romanticized era, but also because I wanted the final book in the series to be in current times. That way I don’t have to create a future world. I plan sneak in a few small history lessons, as well. You know, give kids one of those, “Ha! You learned something and you didn’t even realize it” moments.

Okay, before we get to page 99, here’s what you should know: my protagonist, Amy, has received a warning from a stranger who arrived uninvited to their mothers’ gala. The mysterious woman tells her to stay away from Dr. Von Thistle and to believe in her dreams. This latter part is important because Amy portends the future through her dreams, and the book begins with her waking from a nightmare where she sees their mansion go up in flames. Amy already knows Dr. Von Thistle is dangerous. He charmed his way into their mothers’ party, then tried to feed Amy and Tracy something from an inkbottle, possibly some kind of poison. He intends to kidnap them, although the girls don’t yet understand why. But Tracy, who has the power of super-speed, disappears into a time portal, leaving Amy on her own to hide from the evil scientist and his two nutty companions.

The set up is important here, because on page 99 Amy tells Tracy about the stranger’s warning, and Tracy reminds Amy that their mothers have invited Dr. Von Thistle to dinner the next night. They know it’s no good explaining that the famous scientist plans to kidnap them. Their mothers are both smitten with him, for one thing. For another, how can they explain that the mad scientist pulled a bottle of ink out of his pocket, so they freaked and ran off? Or that Tracy disappeared into a time portal to escape? They can’t. Not without their mothers deciding they need more sleep and less sugar. So now they’re stuck with a huge dilemma: how are they going to escape from Dr. Von Thistle’s clutches yet again?

Page 99 is definitely the high point in my book. Despite the mere 2 ½ sentences, we’re at a place where the stakes are raised and the situation is not looking promising for the book’s protagonists. If I’ve done my job right, the reader will keep turning pages to find out whether or not Amy and Tracy can find a way out of this terrifying mess.

Ah, page 99. You did not let me down.

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