Thursday, February 2, 2012

My First E Book Exclusive

by Chris Grabenstein

So do young readers read books on Kindles and Nooks and other e-readers or are they just for older folks who need that FONT ADJUSTMENT BUTTON BIG TIME.

I guess I'm about to find out. This week, I put my first E-Book Exclusive for middle grades readers (ages 8 and up) in the Kindle and Nook stores. It's a story I have been working on, on and off, for three or four years: THE EXPLORERS' GATE.

The book takes its title from the fact that all the gates leading into New York City's Central Park are named after the professions of the working-class people who came into the park when it first opened in the 1870s. That's why they're called stuff like Farmers' Gate, Merchants' Gate, Scholars Gate, and Explorers' Gate.

Yes, I love Central Park and know far too much about it, probably because I have gone for a run through some winding part of it every morning for over ten years. One morning, in early Spring, I went jogging just after dawn and saw dew dropping of the statue of Balto's lolling tongue and thought, "Wow -- it looks like that dog has been out running all night and just now froze back into place."

Being a big fan of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, I started wondering -- What if (which is how so many stories get started) all the statues in the park came to life after dark? All because, back when New York was New Amsterdam, the early Dutch settlers shipped over some clever kabouters (a.k.a. gnomes) from the old country, magical creatures who used to help around the farm, home, and shop; wee people with so much life force, their excess energy is a lot like AM radio waves: at night, it bounces around and animates inanimate objects.

In my telling of the story, as New York City grew from being a wooded island filled with farms into a teeming metropolis, these creatures needed a new woodsy home. And so, some very rich and influential New Yorkers of Dutch ancestry decided to create Central Park as an eternal sanctuary for the kabouters. THE EXPLORERS' GATE tells the tale of Nikki Van Wyck, an intrepid twelve year old girl, who goes on a fantastic modern day adventure in Central Park. She becomes part of a Crown Quest Competition to help the kabouters determine their new king. She also discovers the wildly magical and sometimes frightening things that happen on the other side of the park's gates after dark. (Some of the statues, including the ones with swords, are rooting for the bad guys to win the Crown Quest.)

It's a story I loved telling and re-worked a dozen different times.

It's the first of my (many) manuscripts that didn't find a home with a traditional publisher that I decided to go ahead and publish myself.


Did I mention that I love Central Park?

I'm hoping THE EXPLORERS GATE will serve as a fun tour guide to all the wonders hidden within the park's low stone walls. In fact, I hope that this coming Spring, I'll see young (and old) people in pointy red hats exploring all the places Nikki explores.
What's with the pointy red hats?

Well, you'll have to read the book to find out!


Jennifer Archer said...

I've wondered this many times, Chris. It will be interesting to see how it sells. I hope they fly off the cyberspace. The story sounds fantastic. I wish I could run every morning through Central Park. Or maybe walking would be better. I'm told I run like a girl.

Anita Grace Howard said...

Chris, I LOVE this story premise! I'm actually thinking about buying a Nook today w/some gift cards I got for Christmas. Your book sounds like a great one to break in an e-reader!

Wendy Corsi Staub said...

Chris, sounds like a great tale for boys my younger son's age (8th grade)...we'll look for it! I'm also a big fan of Central Park--and I love your character's name. Nicki Van Wyck--positively inspired! :-)

Jordan Dane said...

I love your story premise, Chris. What fun & how magical! Good luck.

PW had an article this week on ereaders & kids but I haven't read it yet.

Chris Grabenstein said...

Sorry the pictures didn't come through. Sigh. There's a bit more about the book (and pix) in my e-newsletter that went out today...

Carol Tanzman said...

I LOVE Central Park. Although I also have a fondness for Prospect Park since I lived near there when my children were little. I got a Kindle for a holiday present. As soon as I have a moment to set it up--I will download your book. Sounds like so much fun!