Author Showcase: Roger Neetz Crosses Over to Children’s Fiction
By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 15, 2011
Roger Neetz, a resident of Vero Beach, Florida, has authored three historical novels. This is his first children’s works. A graduate of Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, his career included assignments with CIA, and the Foreign Agricultural Service in Europe and the Soviet Union.
TCBR: The Little Fish From the Sea was written especially for children because you felt that they could easily identify with the main character, a little girl who is found floating in a small yellow life preserver in the open sea. What is it about the girl that you think children connect with the most?
Roger Neetz: The fact that the little girl survived a disaster immediately lends to a curiosity about what happened and where did she come from. As the story unfolds this curiosity grows stronger and the reader wants to become a friend.
You have authored three historical novels, but this is your first children’s book. From where did you draw the inspiration to create this particular story?
This is an interesting question. Imagination is my answer. I created an environment and a little girl who had a message for all the people she met. It was a message of love, and that love was returned.
Would you consider it historical fiction?
No, the genre would more likely fit children’s fiction, although, one might imply an escape from Cuba has a relationship to historical fiction.
What age group is it intended for?
I tested the waters with a 9-to 12-year-old age group. But surprisingly mothers have been attracted to the story.
Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of things do they say?
Comments from young readers applauded the story. It was different and they could identify with the little girl’s interest to find her real parents. Mothers all said they loved the story and said it ended too soon.
Was there anything surprising that you learned in creating this book?
It was a challenge to get inside the head of a young girl, but I believed if I could recall the many incidents in my life when I saw children grow up in the neighborhood I lived in, I could recreate childhood characteristics.
Do you prefer writing for adults or children?
My background and career experience lend to adult books but I truly felt comfortable writing The Little Fish From the Sea; and it was rewarding to receive favorable comments from adult readers as well as from young people.
Can you give us any hints as to what you’re working on next?
Yes, I am writing a novel that recreates the Tylenol scandal in the 80’s. The case remains unsolved and my contribution is to introduce evidence that will solve the case.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
My interest in writing fiction stems from questions I ask myself after reading news stories about people and events. I develop a story line by recreating an incident in life and explore the known facts and then introduce the unknowns and let the reader pause and wonder about the truth.
Add this book to your collection: The Little Fish From the Sea
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