Most of you probably don’t know that I’ve been working on a middle grade novel over the past couple of years. Yes, I normally write much faster than that, and this one has been back-burnered a few times while I set about writing the Cherry Hill series, which I self-published.
Middle grade is different, though. Personally, I find it more challenging. But the story of the USS Scorpion is a bit personal to me. I was a Navy brat for most of my childhood before joining the Navy myself in 1984. SCORPION SUMMER is the fictional tale of Jack Harvey, an 11 year-old Navy brat who loses his father when the USS Scorpion was lost at sea in 1968. A couple dozen families waited on Pier 22 for the return of their husbands and fathers on Memorial Day. The sub never returned.
The Scorpion was the last sub lost at sea by the US Navy, and one of two nuclear subs. The first was the USS Thresher in 1963. Both the Scorpion and Thresher were of the same class. In a decade when the US government was determined to keep up with Soviet military build-up as well as the Vietnam War, the Navy was under immense pressure to get submarines built and deployed as quickly as possible. Mistakes were made.
You can research more about the Scorpion and the controversy surrounding her sinking. Many still believe that she was sunk by a Soviet submarine in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. A realistic possibility given the tensions of the day.
SCORPION SUMMER, however, does not dwell on the loss of the Scorpion. It is about the families left behind. It’s about Navy families, Navy brats, and the world they live in. It’s the story of one boy’s sudden launch into manhood. I do pray I’ve done justice to the families of the Scorpion and Navy families everywhere.
The good news is that I’ve completed my final edit of SCORPION SUMMER and am seeking an agent to represent it. So far, there seems to be plenty of interest in a story like this. I’m confident that SCORPION SUMMER will find a home with a publisher.
I plan on continuing my Navy Brat series, moving through the 70s and early 80s, a time period I grew up in, but is history to today’s middle grade readers. I’ll keep you posted.