My Life as a Writer
ByCharles A. Salter
Growing up as I did in a writing family, I suppose it was inevitable that I would want to become a writer myself. My earliest memories include Dad pounding away at his Olivetti portable typewriter for hours at a time, producing copious numbers of poems, short stories, novels, nonfiction articles, stage plays, and various autobiographical journals over his entire life.
When we moved to Covington, Louisiana, my father joined the local writers’ group and closely befriended its most illustrious member—Walker Percy, who not long after that won the National Book Award in 1962 for THE MOVIEGOER. Even after achieving his own fame, Percy still tried to help my dad and others with their writing.
In this environment I wrote my own first illustrated children’s book at the age of 8, a family newspaper by the age of 9, several short stories and mini-plays (which I, along with a younger brother and sister) produced for our parents’ enjoyment between age 10 and 15. That summer of my 15th year my brother and I started writing film scripts and produced a number of these with family, friends, and neighbors serving as cast members. By age 16, I had finished my first novel, though it is important to realize none of the above were formally published or reached more than a local audience.
Not long after college, however, I began to write professionally and for regular publication. I first achieved success in nonfiction, publishing hundreds of articles in journals, magazines, and syndicated newspapers. I also published some textbooks, reference books, and general nonfiction books, including a series of teen nutrition books which became very popular in school libraries and won awards.
In more recent years, my attention has turned to fiction, first in a series of adult novels which won several awards, and currently in a series of middle grade novels called THE KARE KIDS ADVENTURES. There are four books in this new series so far, two in print as I write this and two more scheduled to be published by the end of summer, 2016.
I am writing this new series in reaction to what I see as unhealthy trends in society that inhibit kids from growing independent and responsible. The 9 to 12-year-old characters in my books can’t rely on magic or super-powers to solve their problems. And these kids really care, not just as an attitude only, but one they translate into real action to help family, friends, animals, and the environment. I want readers to glimpse how they can find the hero inside each of them, too, using their independence and sense of responsibility to make the world a better place.
Book #1 of THE KARE KIDS ADVENTURES is “The Secret of Bald Rock Island.” In it, 10-year-old Kelcie decides to solve the mystery of what happened to her missing fisherman father years ago AND what the mysterious creature on her island might be. It has gotten several excellent reviews:
Book #2 is “Charlotte and the Mysterious Vanishing Place.” In it, 9-year-old Charlotte seeks to rescue puppies trapped in a sinkhole rapidly forming in the woods behind her home.
Please be looking for #3 in August (“How Three Brothers Saved the Navy”) and #4 in September (“The Travel Twins and the Lost Secret of the Vikings”)!