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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How a Writer who Doesn't Officially Exist Turned Me into a Crazed, Pinterest Party Mom

Erin Hunter does not exist.  I’m glad, because if she did, I’d probably hate her.  Hate is a strong word, I know, but as a wannabe author who has yet to have her first novel published, I cringe at the sight of entire library shelves full of books by a single author.  Now, I’m not talking about any author, big-name or otherwise, who has been writing for fifteen or twenty years or more.  I expect that within that length of time, any writer worth his or her weight in printer ink and cheap copy paper will have had the chance to churn out a volume or two.  John Grisham?  No bad feelings, there.  But I’m talking about Erin Hunter, who, starting in 2003, has written a semi-sized truck-load of books within a relatively short period of a few years.   Knowing what I do about how slow-going things can be in the publishing world, I couldn’t help feeling more than a little put out.  I mean, how the heck does any writer manage to publish a total of 53 novels, 16 manga, 6 “Field Guides” and 8 eBooks within a measly eleven years???

Well, in the case of Erin Hunter, I found I didn’t have to feel quite so intimidated.  Erin Hunter is the pen name of not one, but four writers who mainly live in England.  These four women, along with an editor, churn out the uber-popular “Warriors” series that initially caused me such angst. 

Whew.  Boy, was I relieved to learn that Erin was a fake!  Why?  First of all, because my daughter loves Erin’s (aka “her” x 4) books.  Second:  I secretly enjoy reading “Erin’s” books myself.  That’s why!    

Okay, so these books are about cats.  That’s right.  Warrior cats.  Laugh all you want.  I know I did the first time my then 3rd-grader brought her first Warriors book home.  In “Into the Wild,” Rusty the house cat leaves his comfortable home and joins with a “clan” of cats who live in the forest and becomes a warrior like the rest of them.  He ends up earning his “warrior name,” (Fireheart) and eventually ends up ruling his clan as leader, becoming Firestar.  Hoo boy.   Well, as cringe-worthy as this may sound, it’s really not all that bad.  Throughout the series, you meet many well-developed characters in the form of rather human-like “warrior kitties” as I like to call them.  These kitties tell stories about courage, survival, betrayal, trust, loyalty, good and evil, and learning to believe in yourself.  You even get a few not overly gag-inducing love stories that ring true.  And, there are more than enough fight scenes for any reader who craves action. 

All I can say is that the books are well-written, and they’re written by someone(ahem, plural) with an obvious affinity for nature, all things feline, a love of mythology and an interest in the spiritual beliefs of early cultures who prayed to their ancestors and sought direction from the stars.  If your child wants to give the books a try, the Warriors series just might be what gets him or her hooked on reading.

Here’s where my life turned all Pinterest-y. 

My fifth-grader is still hooked on her beloved warrior kitty cats.  I swore I’d never do it, but…I did.  I turned into the crazy, Pinterest Party Mom who planned her child’s birthday bash with a theme, down to the last detail.  Hence, the “fresh kill pile,” the “moon pool water,” (which won’t make sense unless you’ve read the books), the strawberry mice, the goldfish and the pile of “bones,” along with the cake decorated with warrior cat clan symbols.  Wow.  I’m so embarrassed.

But my daughter loved it.  And I love her, which is why I did all this in the first place.  And I don’t hate Erin Hunter, as much as I’d like to, since she’s four writers, (plus editor), not one. 

All this got me to thinking.  Why not a party for myself, or my husband, based on some of our favorite books?  Next year, I’m voting for Harry Potter-themed party.  Bring on the butterbeer! 

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