About The Book:
TJ’s just an ordinary fourteen year old kid with extraordinary problems at home and school: A broken up family from his parents’ bitter divorce, evil bullies almost every afternoon, failing grades, boring classes, snobby girls, mean teachers, cut from basketball tryouts, few friends.
Life is rough for TJ Cockrell.
And then that mysterious little green book had to go and throw him into the past. And not just any past, but into the untamed forbidding forests of 1802 eastern Tennessee along with the savage Indians, wild beasts, bloodthirsty robbers, backwoods ruffians, and log cabin living! Yup, it’s definitely not 2011 Knoxville anymore.
And he thought his present life was bad news! But TJ’s adventures are only beginning. Along the way, he fights off killer beasts and bandits and braves, meets the young Davy Crockett, gains a world of confidence in himself, finds his first real love, and is befriended by a fantastic frontier family who really has it together.
When he returns to the present, he’s a brand new person––but there are killers loose in his house, bullies waiting to beat him up at school, a pretty new girl at Highland High he hasn't even seen yet. And the aftermath of the little green book to deal with!
Getting To Know The Author:
Jackson Keene is the pen name of Jack Olen King. Mr. Keene is a former advertising man and senior marketing executive with a love of writing and history. In his free time, among other things, he volunteer coaches youth basketball and is a coach-player on his own men’s team. He lives in Plano, Texas, where he enjoys creating stories about less celebrated yet equally exciting periods of the past and present. Nolichuck is his debut novel.
Interview for Between The Pages:
1. 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.
2. 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 empathize 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.
3. 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.
4. What 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.
5. 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.
Lynda's Review: Watch for my review in August or September