Nolichuck, TJ’s Wild Frontier Adventure by Jackson Keene is an amazing exciting adventure of a young man named Thomas James Cockrell, called TJ.
TJ is in high school and living the hardest time of his life. He’s in that awkward teenage years, lacks self-confidence, and has no interest in school. His only passion at the moment is drama class and plays.
He has the typical issues at school of being harassed and bullied by the bigger and more popular kids. His misery is compounded by his parents’ divorce, and his beloved sister, Natalie moving away to another city with his mother. TJ feels lost.
The adventure and life changing experience transpires when TJ discovers a green mystical book in his father’s desk. His father’s desk drawers are usually locked up, but on that special day, the drawer was unlocked. TJ’s curiosity won and he opens the drawer to look inside.
We had the pleasure of also having an interview from author Jackson Keene. Jackson can you tell us when and why did you start writing?
I've had the "itch" to write for 20 years. I finally woke up one day and realized that I'd be an old man if I didn't start soon! I wrote plays and short stories as a kid, and have had several ideas for novels over the years, but never jump-started my writing in a serious fashion until NOLICHUCK came along.
What inspired you to write Nolichuck?
NOLICHUCK was a combination of many things stewing around inside. I was born and lived in Tennessee as a kid, and knew some of its history. Like TJ, the main character of our story, I had to constantly fight off bullies in school. I always loved history, but wanted to write about periods of history that are less written and less celebrated than the great events -- a look at common people living everyday lives, so to speak. Davy Crockett was a childhood hero, and I wondered what it was like for him as a teenager. Of course, I originally planned to be a history professor, so naturally one of my characters HAD to be that. I was never the star athlete in high school, so I emphasize with TJ's disappointments in sports. Above all, I wanted a story that would deal realistically with the hard life issues that far too many young adults face today: Bullying, divorced families, struggling with grades, not making the "team", not part of the most popular cliques, mean teachers, boredom, unhappiness, few close friends, lack of meaningful communication with either parent, etc.
What is the hardest part of writing Nolichuck?
For me, developing strong characters and creating believable dialogue was the hardest part. Coming up with an imaginative plot with subplots is fairly easy, but fleshing it out with people and interaction that really captures the reader’s attention is what it's all about.
Where is your favorite place to write?
In our den with its fireplace, the comfy couch (where I can catnap now and then), and my personal office set up is where I can fully concentrate on thinking and writing. Although, truth be told, some of my best ideas and plot revisions come to me just as I'm drifting off to sleep at night. I keep a notepad and pen next to the bed to capture "brainstorms" when they come.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The next book in the YA series is: Reds! TJ's Wacky War Adventure.
Thank you for your visit and your interview. It's a pleasure to learn about your writing habits and skills. I know that your readers will enjoy to learn that your next book is in progress. Warm wishes.
LINKS TO NOLICHUCK