Cover Reveal . . . MAXI’S SECRETS by Lynn Plourde
At sixty years of age, why write my first middle grade novel, Maxi’s Secrets (or What You Can Learn from a Dog)?
To bring my dog Maggie back to life, of course.
When my beloved Maggie died three years ago, I got greedy. I wanted more time with her. Fourteen years wasn’t enough. I wanted to shout to anyone and everyone about how special and crazy and wise Maggie was. But since I’m an author, my preferred way of “shouting” is “writing.” I started writing an advice book—sort of an “all you really need to know, you can learn from a canine” kind of book. But Maggie wasn’t about giving advice; she was about living—with joy. I needed a different way to share her escapades, her life lessons.
I write picture books. I could do fiction. But Maggie needed more space, more words, more air than a picture book. So she grew into a middle grade novel.
I changed her name from Maggie to Maxi but stayed true to Maggie’s heart and her drama . . . run-ins with a porcupine and wild turkey poo, too.
But as I sat at my desk with Maggie’s photo and ashes and fur sample (aaah, it still smells just like her), I got braver. Maggie gave me permission to sprinkle make-believe on her truth. To add, take away, change whatever I needed to in order to make the best story I could.
And so I did. I turned my medium-sized, black, Irish-setter-mix Maggie into a giant, white, Great Pyrenees Maxi. Maggie’s lifetime of ear infections turned into Maxi’s deafness. Maxi needed a new person, not a boring author who sat at a desk all day. Maxi’s person became Timminy, the shortest kid and biggest loudmouth at his middle school, who spent more time inside lockers than at a desk.
That’s why and how I created Maxi.
See how illustrator Maira Kalman brought Maxi to life . . .
Maira’s cover illustration took my breath away. That is a real dog. Those eyes. They see. They know . . .
Secrets. My Maggie’s secrets.
When I saw those eyes, I gasped, “Those eyes are Maggie’s eyes.” Yes, my Maggie. You knew, of course, I’d include a picture of her too, didn’t you?
Lynn Plourde is the author of thirty children’s books including Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud, Wild Child, the graphic novel Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness, and her upcoming 2016 books: You’re Doing THAT in the Talent Show?! Bella’s Fall Coat, Baby Bear’s NOT Hibernating, and her first middle grade novel, Maxi’s Secrets (or What You Can Learn from a Dog), published August 23rd with Nancy Paulsen Books. You can find Lynn online at www.lynnplourde.com, on Twitter @LynnPlourde, and on Facebook.