TJ's Wild Frontier Adventure
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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!
Young readers from twelve years-old and up will enjoy this story. TJ lives an incredible adventure that's as thrilling as any video game. This story encompasses mystery, time-travel, good verses evil, dangerous animal encounters, interesting historical characters, and much more. He even faces many modern-day problems like, bullying, a broken home, and the struggle to grow up! Author Jackson Keene manages to include all these elements in surprising clarity and detail, while not compromising on plot, dialogue, and action. His word choices and descriptions have the feel of authenticity and convinces the reader of the plausibility of this exploit; I know it did that for me. I'm happy to give this book Five Stars!
Here are a couple of snippets to whet your appetite.
His face was hot and flushed. Beads of sweat cascaded down both sides of his head. He watched as the panther took a few tentative steps toward him, padding every nearer.
~ Page 51
I can't do that anymore. It gets me depressed. I'll go crazy if I think too much. Besides, I don't know for sure if I'll ever return to my own time.
~ Page 187
Between The Pages thanks Author Jackson Keene for taking the time to do an interview for us.
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 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.
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.
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