(Since Pitch Wars is coming up, and I’m going to be a co-mentor this year (!), I thought I’d bump this post up.)

When my 5-year-old was 3, she asked if I’d help her steal the moon. Now, I’m a pretty good dad. But planetoid theft? That’s a little outside my skillset. However, me being me, my brain immediately thought, STORY IDEA! So when I went downstairs after kissing her goodnight, I sat down and started fiddling with an idea about a young girl whose dad helped her steal the moon. What little I came up with was kind of sad: the little girl and her dad met loads of night creatures on their way to the moon, but when they took it down from the sky, all the night creatures could no longer see. I planned on ending the story by having them return the moon, but, me being me, that’s not what happened.

What happened was, I started writing about a kid named Aaron whose dad had recently up and moved them to Prague. I knew the dad worked at the American Embassy, and I knew Aaron was lonely and homesick. I also knew I wanted it to be a speculative thriller: some fantasy, loads of action. But other than that? No clue. Eventually, Aaron’s story grew to include spies and mercenaries and unhinged alchemists, and I realized my setting demanded I work the Prague Golem myth into it. Hopefully I’ve done right by both the lore and the city. I’d always wanted to set a story in Prague, but until Aaron came along, nothing ever quite fit.

Fast forward to #Pitchwars 2014: My book was good, but now? It’s freaking awesome. And I owe it all to my amazing mentor, Meredith McCardle. (If you’re curious about #PitchWars, here’s my post about it.) There is no way I could have pulled off this massive revision without her, and for that I will be forever grateful. In the end, my daughter didn’t get a story about lunar theft, but because of her request, I now have a book I’m immensely proud of. I owe you the moon, kid.


Check out some of my other fellow mentees’ blog posts on why they wrote the book that got them into #PitchWars: Carleen Karanovic: HOPE ON A FEATHER Heather Truett: RENASCENCE Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND Susan Bickford: FRAMED Rachel Sarah: RULES FOR RUNNING AWAY Amanda Rawson Hill: GRIMM AND BEAR IT Charlotte Gruber: CODE OF SILENCE Kip Wilson: THE MOST DAZZLING GIRL IN BERLIN Mary Ann Nicholson: CALAMITY Nikki Roberti: THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES Anna Patel: EXODUS A. Reynolds: LE CIRQUE DU LITERATI Susan Crispell: WISHES TO NOWHERE Rosalyn Eves: THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION Ashley Poston: HEART OF IRON Mara Rutherford: WINTERSOUL Janet Walden-West: Damned If She Do Kazul Wolf: SUMMER THUNDER D. Grimm: WITCHER Kelli Newby: THORNVAAL Tara Sim: TIMEKEEPER Elliah Terry: POCKET FULL OF POPPIES Alessa Hinlo: THE HONEST THIEF Rachel Horwitz: THE BOOTLEGGER’S BIBLE Whitney Taylor: DEFINITIONS OF INDEFINABLE THINGS Lyra Selene: REVERIE Natalie Williamson: SET IN STONE Robin Lemke: THE DANCE OF THE PALMS Stephanie Herman: CLIFF WITH NO EDGE Shannon Cooley: A FROG, A WHISTLE, AND A VIAL OF SAND Ruth Anne Snow: THE GIRLS OF MARCH Elizabeth Dimit: PHOEBE FRANZ’S GUIDE TO PASSPORTS, PAGEANTS, & PARENTAL DISASTERS Elliah Terry: POCKET FULL OF POPPIES Gwen C. Katz: AMONG THE RED STARS Jennifer Hawkins: FALSE START Kelly DeVos: THE WHITE LEHUA