Welcome to another in our series of A Day in the Life of a Colorado author. Meet Paul Aertker, author of the middle grade Crime Travelers series! The latest in the series, Priceless, has just come out.
If I had my druthers (and I’d rather have my druthers), I would be on a perpetual trip. Hopping from spot to spot makes me feel alive. I am inspired by Dr. Seuss and that wonderful line, “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”
Maybe all things are not as funny as Dr. Seuss sees it, but there are a lot of amazing things in this world. Some are funny; some awe-inspiring; others definitely need some work. I think that’s what I like about traveling. It’s an exposure to good and bad. Great things motivate us while the blah makes us appreciate home that much more.
I can’t always leave my home in Denver to sail around the globe. And this is where being a writer really has its perks.
When I sit down to write, I may not know what I am going to type or where the story is going to take me. It’s a new place to visit, a place that no one has ever been to or seen before.
That’s the fun in it. If I knew exactly how the story was going to play out, then why would I write it? So the first time I visit a blank page, it’s actually very exciting (and sometimes scary).
The same is true for reading. When I sit down to read a book, I have no idea where the story is going to take me. I can read the table of contents and get an idea but I still don’t know how I’ll feel when I read the words and get to know the characters. I can map out all the cool sites in a book and go there in my mind, which is an awesome vacation. But when I’m standing underneath the Eiffel Tower looking up, it’s a completely different kind of trip. Both forms of travel, actual and virtual, fire up the imagination.
There are infinite ways to experience the world and I want to share those adventures with as many people as possible. I write travel stories for kids because books are essentially passports to other places. (Many people would say I write for children because I act like a child, but that’s material for another post). I like peppering my stories with geography, in the hope that children will be inspired to learn about other people and different parts of the world.
I once had an editor reject my Crime Travelers series based on the simple fact that the stories took place outside of the United States. She said, “American kids don’t want to read about the rest of the world.” I naturally disagreed with her and Crime Travelers has become my “Call to Legs” to get kids up and out to see the world and make it a better place.
The premise behind the series is that this is a wonderful planet but it could be better, and it will eventually be up to children to fix some of the challenges the world faces. So in fact, I’m passing the baton to the next generation saying, “Here. We’ve done what we can, but we still need some help to make things right.”
As soon as I open page one in my books, I want to be going on somewhere. Reading, writing, and traveling are all part of one big happy family. Like I tell the kids in my school speeches: You can travel by boat, by bike or by book. Yet, with your imagination you can travel anywhere by any means at any time.