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06 April 2012

Guest post by Adrian Fogelin, author of Summer on the Moon

6I just want to thank Adrian, author of Summer on the Moon, for her willingness to guest post.  I hope you enjoy :)
"Summer on the Moon,” like most of my books, is set during summer vacation—school takes up too much plot time. The summer in this book is a big one for my main character, Socko Starr, who moves from a dangerous inner-city apartment building out to the suburbs.

It's not the sweet deal you might think. Part of the package for Socko and his mom is that they have to care for Socko's great-grandfather who has purchased the house mostly to keep himself out of a nursing home. What none of them know is that they are the only ones who have bought a house in Moon Ridge Estates; the struggling half-built subdivision is going bankrupt.

The moonscape housing development portrayed in the book is a lot like the place I grew up. True to the tradition of naming subdivisions after things that they are not, my particular moonscape was called Colonial Park. Far from looking colonial, the houses were split level, and the use of the word "Park" was a joke. Before being developed my neighborhood was a potato field, pancake flat and devoid of trees. My street, Canoe Brook Drive, was named after a six inch wide trickle that ran down one edge of the subdivision.

When we moved in there was little grass and no tree with a trunk thicker than your pinky.  A concrete slab served as the patio. Eating dinner at our picnic table we could see clear to the other end of the block. "Mind your manners," my mother would say, sure the people in every house were watching.
"It's blue today," we'd report. "It's purple." Each day the color of the water in the toilet would be different. They hadn't quite worked out the chemistry in our water supply.

It may sound like I'm complaining, but Colonial Park was the perfect place to be a kid. The neighborhood was so safe we could roam the streets at night, skateboarding under the streetlights. We traveled to each other’s houses through darkened backyards. The concrete slab that was blinding by daylight was a great place to hang out at night. A ladder my father had carelessly left against the house gave me access to the roof where I often sat and played guitar.

The fact Moon Ridge Estates, which supplied the “moon” in "Summer on the Moon," is only partially built just adds to the things Socko can do. Instead of skateboarding exclusively on the streets he has an empty Olympic size swimming pool which quickly becomes his own personal skate park. He walks the second story beams of the unfinished houses. Like me, he makes a quick adjustment to the parched landscape and claims it as his own.

Also like Socko, who suddenly finds himself living with an incredibly crotchety old man I grew up with a live-in grandfather. Where Socko's great grandfather, the General, brings a wealth of World War II experiences to his storytelling, my grandfather was an Italian immigrant who yearned for the old country,for kids who were respectful, and better olive oil. Like the General he was a constant presence.
My stories always combine real life and imagination. "Summer on the Moon" ends with a gang leader in a Trans Am splashing down in an Olympic size swimming pool. Real life or imagination? Sad to say, it’s got to be imagination. Colonial Park didn’t have a pool.

Adrian Fogelin is the author of several novels for middle readers and young adults, including Crossing Jordan and The Real Question. She lives in Florida.  You can visit her website here.

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