Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


The story of Zoom!

Call me crazy, but I believe that one of the main reasons we become parents is to take our children to Disneyland, the "happiest place on earth." But what happens when your child is deathly afraid of roller coasters, and Disneyland turns into a place of torture? You write a book about it.

The beautiful thing about being an author is that you can tweak a few things in the re-telling of the story, such as the age of your child at the time of the the visit (15), the disappearance of said child into a huge crowd of people in order to avoid riding any more rides, the frantic half hour search for the child, and the very unhappy decision to go home after riding only two rides - the monorail and Indiana Jones.

With the above mentioned editing, Zoom! became the story of a worried young child and an overly enthusiastic father who successfully navigate the dino coaster at an unnamed amusement park. It also became my first book that sold.

Lest you think that our son is scarred forever, we have made it an annual tradition to give a day pass to Disneyland to him and his long-time girlfriend, who is equally terrified of roller coasters. They love to walk around the park and ride an occasional ride, and we all laugh about our book inspiring trip many moons ago. As for my husband and I, we went back to Disneyland on our own and had a ball.

(Chris and his long-time girlfriend Amanda at their college graduation. He is now an engineer. Perhaps someday he will be designing roller coaster rides!)


betsy woods said...

Diane, My son Sam who today loves boats and fishing and bayous--was deathly afraid of all of the above when he was small. I love how you transitioned that story into Zoom!

Christy said...

Great story! I'm with Chris--no roller coasters for me. My husband feels the same. Fortunately his brother, our daughter's crazy uncle, takes her on really scary rides. They have a blast.

Diane Adams said...

Roller coasters can be really scary, especially with the anticipation that builds while waiting in line!

By the way, Christy, I don't know if you get Westways Magazine from AAA, but they talk about the celebration of Japanese Culture that's taking place in Orange County in 2011. Isamu Noguchi is being celebrated by Martha Graham's Dance Company at the South Coast Repertory from Feb. 24-27, and a retrospective of his work is being held at the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach from Feb. 27 - May 15. They also mention the Noguchi sculpture garden in Costa Mesa. Had I not read your book, I would have passed right over that! Wonder if the Laguna Art Museum would want to carry your book?!

Lauren said...

The only ride I will ride at an amusement park is the roller coaster-- it has to be the old-fashioned kind- no loop-di-loops for me- but I love the rush down from the top... I also love Disneyland! And I love how you took a real life tale and turned it into a picture book- wonderful!
ps- I have a friend who's son is studying engineering with the hopes of being hired to design roller coasters!

Christy said...

Diane, thanks for all the info! I asked my publisher to send Laguna Art Museum a copy of The East-West House a while ago. Fingers crossed that the museum will carry the book in the gift shop.

Lauren, at the Museum of Technology nearby in San Jose, kids get to design their own roller coaster ride and then watch a simulation video. I have issues with motion sickness, so even that is too much. I get queasy watching anything done in 3-D or filmed with a hand-held camera--total whimp here.

Mark said...

Great example of taking a real-life experience and making it "fiction." Thanks for sharing, Diane.

Edie said...

I can identify with this story. I'm the lone non-roller coaster rider in a crazy roller coaster-riding family.

David LaRochelle said...

Your post reminded me of a trip I took to Disney World where I saw a little toddler screaming at the top of his lungs as his parents posed him in front of Mickey Mouse to get a photo. What's fun for some isn't fun for all.
David, who still loves roller coasters, but can sadly no longer tolerate the spinning rides