How much fun to host a fellow historic fan today! Please welcome Rob Skead; I know you are going to love his inspirational story.
My father never ceases to amaze me. Several years ago, while doing genealogy research, he discovered that we had an ancestor, Lamberton Clark, who fought in the American Revolution. My father was so pleased because it was a relative of his favorite grandfather. My dad joined the Sons of the American Revolution organization and encouraged me to do the same. He showed me his membership certificate. That’s when I told him about an idea I had for an American Revolution children’s book. I gave him the 30-second pitch.
“That’s really neat,” he said. “How come you never wrote it?”
“Never made time I guess,” I replied. I thought that was the end of it.
I was wrong. Three days later I received an email from my father. He attached a treatment of a story based on the premise I shared with him. My dad had mapped out the plot, named a main character after Lamberton Clark who fought in the Connecticut militia and Continental Army, planned out some key events and what characters would be thinking as they faced obstacles. I was amazed. My father was in his mid 80s. Was there nothing he couldn’t do? He wasn’t a writer. I was. But I guess he had read enough books in his lifetime that he had the concepts down. I’m usually weak at coming up with what character might be thinking. He nailed it.
For fun, that night, I crafted a major portion of the first scene with action and dialogue in book format and emailed it to him. I called him and told him to check his email and grew anxious waiting for his call back. When the phone rang my pulse quickened. “This is great,” he said with an excited tone. “Keep going.”
I did. I had a goal to write a scene every few days. Of course I had to add my own ideas too. Each time a scene was complete I emailed it to him. He either gave me suggested changes or his approval. I kept going… week after week, scene by scene, eating the elephant of a children’s novel one bite at a time. I’d go to his house (he and my mom live next door to me and my family) and we’d discuss ideas for the story. He was always mindful of making sure the characters had integrity while still being flawed. It was the most fun I ever had writing a story because I did it with my dad.
A few years later, Zondervan bought the story. At age 89, my father is now an author—and proof that one should always stay busy and creative in one’s retirement, and wonderful things will happen.
We hope Patriots, Redcoats & Spies inspires children and adults to do great things and that it helps nurture a spirit of patriotism within them. And yes, my father even came up with the title.
Robert Skead is the author of several popular children’s books, including the American Revolutionary War Adventure series Patriots, Recdoats And Spies (Zondervan, 2015); Something to Prove: the Great Satchel Paige versus the Rookie Joe DiMaggio (Lerner Publishing, 2013), Mighty Mike Bounces Back (Magination Press); Hitting Glory – A Baseball Bat Adventure; Safe at Home-A Baseball Card Mystery (Cross Training Publishing) and The Turkey Bowl, Elves Can’t Dunk (Tale Blazer).
When he is not at work or crafting stories, Robert can often be found at schools speaking with children and adults about creative writing and the importance of discovering one’s talenst for a fulfilled life. Through these author visits, Robert speaks to more than 5,000 students per year.
For more information about his school author visits and writing workshops, visit him here.
I can see I am going to have to get some Skead books! Baseball and the Revolution. These are right up my and my grandson’s alleys. Thanks for this post. Since I am merely 69, I know there is still hope for me and my books.