I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My dreams of being a published fiction author recently went through a reboot, allowing me to focus on non-fiction writing both for my job and in the form of this blog.
But fiction has always been my first love. Even as a 10 year old in Mrs. Greer’s 4th grade class, I wanted to write. At that age, my favorite books were the Boxcar Children and the abridged version of the Mysterious Island by Jules Verne; my favorite movies were Indiana Jones (and the Last Crusade, in particular), the Swiss Family Robinson and most Disney flicks; and my favorite show was Scooby Doo (just setting the scene here).
10-year-old Ashley craved Adventure (in the great wide somewhere….) I hadn’t yet been much of anywhere, save for the 12-hour roadtrips from 727 to 615 that we took a few times a year. I’d not yet been to Europe or the Caribbean. I didn’t remember being in Mexico. My only travel experiences were done through the pages of books, literary and much more affordable.
But 10-year-old Ashley was not satisfied to only READ these adventures. No. She wanted to WRITE these adventures. And so she set out to write a novel, at the wise and experienced age of 10 (or however old you are in the 4th grade).
That book was titled: Amy Borris and the Perilous Solvers. It told the story of a young Amy Borris, tomboy and entrepreneur (with, very auto-biographically, dirty blonde hair and two different colored eyes), and her adventurous group of friends who, like the Baby Sitter’s Club and Boxcar Kids before them, solved mysteries. Aside from the leader (Amy), there was the best friend (Samantha aka Sam); the prissy-pretty one (Missy), the smart, nerdy one (Whiz), the mystery-loving goofball (Sherlock), and the dog (Buster). They went on all sorts of mystery-solving adventures and this one, the one at the heart of my first-ever novel, was set in (of all places) AFRICA.
I never did finish this novel, though the climax is still fresh in my brain (and borrows liberally from The Last Crusade). I remember I had sequels planned. The Perilous Solvers were going to go to Europe and New York and Australia! But first they had to survive their perilous (and did I mention adventurous?) trip to Africa. As biased as I am, I think I understood structure pretty well at that age, and had a knack for cliffhangers; once the fire hits the village in part 8 the action is kind of non-stop.
What follows below is the UNEDITED beginning of this novel. 8800 words (quite a lot for a 10 year old!) and this was the early ’90s so the double space after a period was still in vogue. (Ug.)
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have in rediscovering it