A young adult fantasy novel looking for a home
Christopher Reuben & the Curious World beneath His Garden is an unpublished draft manuscript is about a 14-year-old boy who suffers from a new and rare disease called radar. Shortly after his mother dies from the same illness, he escapes into a bizarre world deep beneath his garden filled with extraordinary people and beings.
While writing this story, I drew directly from my years – and the humbling experiences – working as a social worker in HIV/AIDS and now cancer.
For a period of time, I workshopped the manuscript online for ‘beta-reader’ feedback. The readers were mostly teenagers or in their early 20s. As they read through the chapters, many provided feedback at the end of each chapter. I have been lucky enough to receive close to a hundred comments, and made changes to the story accordingly – some small, some big and one very big (I cut about five chapters, a whole sequence of events).
Here’s a sample of some the comments that I just had to share with you (forgive!):
- ‘It is now 1:30 am and I’m still reading your story, I was going to leave it at midnight but started again soon after.’ (Comment from Chapter 57: My bum burned something shocking.)
- ‘This is an awesome book! The ideas and imagination that was in it was amazing. This is a book I won’t forget. I’m sad to have finished this, I really enjoyed the characters and Cee’s journey through this. I feel a bit sad, I don’t want this book to end.’ (Comment from the last chapter, Chapter 92: The Middle Bit.)
- ‘What?! Noooo! The last chapter with his dad made me cry! Still, it was awesome! Love love love it! Read it in one day cos i couldn’t put it down….’ (Comment from the last chapter, Chapter 92: The Middle Bit.)
Beneath the surface there is The Underplane.
There is Deeper Down.
There is Deeper Still.