It was the spring of 2003. The Iraq war had just begun, and “shock and awe” was the talk of the day. My first novel, Beyond the Horizons had been released the previous fall, and I was enjoying the new world of being a published author. While I was gratified to receive critical acclaim from authors and book reviewers all across the country, I was pleasantly surprised at how I had managed to make new friends among authors and editors.
One of these author/editor friends emailed me one day asking if I had any stories “in the can” that I could write for a Young Adult novel? It seems her boss wanted her to come up with a half dozen Young Adult books for publication within the year. I was a bit flummoxed. I had never even thought about writing for Young Adults before. I told her as much, and promised to think about it.
A couple of weeks later, I had the two twenty-something year old girls from the apartment across the way over for the evening, whereupon I regaled them with stories of my scuba diving adventures, and enthralled them with my video of underwater excitement. They were duly impressed, especially when they saw the shark feeding segments.
That’s when it hit me. Why don’t I write about these adventures I’ve had, and use that for the Young Adult novel? The two young adult girls sure seemed interested in the telling, so surely the average person of their generation would like them too. I emailed my editor friend and told her what I had in mind, and she was all for it. She told me to keep it short…only about 24,000 words, and of course, keep it clean. She knew from Beyond the Horizons that I can write about some intense adult situations. I told her that I wasn’t sure how successful I could be at that, given that some of the storyline was intense. She just said to let her worry about that, and write how I wanted.
Despite her assurances, I did my best to keep the book “G” rated, and it was hard! It was kind of stifling for me, and I constantly had to keep reminding myself who the intended audience was.
Writing the book otherwise was very easy. I have always kept meticulous dive logs over the 300+ dives I’ve done. I simply lifted the details about my more exciting dives and put them into the book. Of course, I had to wrap a story around it to make it more interesting and give birth to characters to identify with. I’ll tell you right now that all of the undersea adventures happened to me, pretty much as described in the book, with few exceptions: I wasn’t attacked by a shark, my dive boat saw a better end, and no, I didn’t have a romance with the ship’s cook. (I wish I had…she was a real cutie!)
About half way through, I realized that it might get boring to simply read about one dive after another, regardless of how neat they may be. So, the angle of the Black Widow and her lost treasure was introduced. Some characters just seem to come alive all on their own. The Black Widow is just such a character. Her full story nearly screams to be told, and thus the germ of the idea for another book was hatched. My third novel, Pirates Revenge, is all about the Black Widow and her ‘nation of pirates’.
The other thing I wanted to do was to pay homage to my son, so I changed the name of the main characters from myself and my best friend, to Josh and his best friend.
Due to unforseen circumstances, my editor friend and her publisher parted ways, so the plan for publication seemed in limbo until Publish America was kind enough to publish it. After five years with them, it lay in limbo for a while, until February of 2013 when BookLocker Publishing re-released it.
So the Final Voyage of the Sea Explorer is part true , part fiction, and enjoyable for all ages…not just the Young Adult. Feel free to go to the dedicated website about it, where you will find a book excerpt, photos from events in the story, a link to its own store offering a wide variety of merchandise featuring scenes from the book. Go to: http://dougboren.homestead.com/seaexplorer.html Drop me a line in the guest book while you are there.