RESCUING MARA’S FATHER
A Middle Grade Science Fiction Adventure
By D.M. Burton
Approx. 75,000 words
ISBN: 978-0-9990452-4-4 (ebook)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9990452-5-1 (print)
Young Teen Girls and Hormones
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Linda. My grandchildren, ages 9 and (almost) 12, know I write novels. They also know they have to wait until they’re grown up before they can read them. That’s disappointing for them. So, an idea for a book they could read came out of the blue. Since I (and my older grandchildren) enjoy science fiction, I set the book at an outpost on the frontier of space, the Outer Rim. Because I want to differentiate my children’s book from my adult fiction, I wrote RESCUING MARA’S FATHER, A Middle Grade Science Fiction Adventure as D.M. Burton.
After an argument with her father, a young girl runs away. While she’s gone, he’s captured by Security forces and whisked off their planet. Since he’s her only parent, she forgets about the argument and sets off to find him.
For most young teen girls, arguing with their parents is common. Girls’ emotions are running rampant. Even when they’ve been pretty even keeled up to that point, hormones can change them into “Drama Queens.” They don’t understand their parent(s). (And vice versa.) Adolescence is a time of turmoil, of wanting to be treated as an adult while still a child. I tapped into what I remember from my own adolescence and my daughter’s. Now, I watch her going through that time with her daughter. I tapped into that for this story. Rescuing Mara’s Father is an adventure story. Yet, I hope my young readers will recognize that they aren’t alone. That other kids go through the same thing.
Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.
Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he’s gone.
Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately.
Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.
Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.
Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. Her mentor, old spaceport mechanic, seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off our planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, Mara has to rescue her father.
“There you go again.” I ignore Father’s startled look. “Why does everything have to be so hard? You used to make learning fun.”
“You were a child then. You are almost an adult. You must try harder.”
“I do try. It’s boring. Why can’t you teach interesting stuff like Basco does? He doesn’t lecture me. He doesn’t tell me I’m not good enough.”
A pained look crosses Father’s face. “That is different. When you work with him at spaceport, you work with your hands. I am trying to teach you to think, to analyze, to make—”
“What difference does it make now? I’m going to the Tech in three tendays.”
He takes a deep breath. “I know you have been looking forward to going—”
No. He wouldn’t. “Don’t you tell me I can’t go.”
“I mean it.” I fist my hands on my hips. “You are not going to tell me I can’t go. You can’t. I’ll be fifteen in three tendays. I’m going.” We’ve had a lot of arguments, but I’ve never defied him before.
“You may be old enough to enroll in the Institute. You still need parental approval.” He lets that sink in.
I’m stunned speechless. Not for long. “You wouldn’t. You wouldn’t punish me like that.”
“Mara, you must obey me on this. You must stay here. You will pay attention in class. You will apply yourself.”
“Like Perfect Lukus? Maybe you wish he was your son instead of a stupid girl like me.”
His eyes widen. “Mara.”
My eyes burn. I’m going to cry, like a stupid girl. “I can’t believe you would forbid me to go to Tech just because I’m not a perfect student in your stupid class. You don’t love me. I’m probably not even your real kid.”
My words hang between us. My chest heaves. I clench my teeth, so I don’t start bawling. I can’t believe he won’t let me go to Tech. Worse, I can’t believe I blurted out the horrible thought that has been festering in the darkest corner of my mind for several tendays.
I wait for him to tell me I’m wrong. That he does love me. That I am his child.
Father slumps into the chair I abandoned. I’ve never seen such a look on his face. Like he’s been kicked in the stomach by a hican. For a sec, before he sat, I thought I saw something else in his eyes. Guilt? Couldn’t have been. He doesn’t care enough to feel guilty about forbidding me go to Tech.
I’m ashamed of my outburst, ashamed that I revealed my worst fear—the fear that he isn’t my real father. We’ve argued before, but I always kept my fear a secret. Now, he knows. I can’t bear to look at him, to see reproach in his eyes. I race into my bedroom and slam the door. I force myself not to throw myself on my bed and cry.
Instead, I lean against the door and try to control the anger I just spewed in the kitchen, anger still rising up inside me. Anger at myself for letting my temper get the best of me. Anger at Father for not letting me go to Tech. Anger at him for not denying my accusation, for not taking me in his arms and saying, “Of course, I love you. Of course, you are my child.”
Anger at him for not coming after me.
If he did come, he would probably tell me again how I don’t try, how I don’t measure up. I’m not sticking around for another lecture. I grab my jacket. My trousers are heavy, but the shirt won’t be enough in the chilly evening. I search under my bed for my emergency pack—the one Father insists I keep ready at all times, ever since the riots. I grab it and slip out the window. Automatically, I close it behind me so critters can’t get in. I don’t have a plan. I just know I don’t want to see Father for a while.
RESCUING MARA’S FATHER, A Science Fiction Adventure will be released on March 30th. It is available for pre-order at the following online vendors:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PV3BFCY/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_SiULCbKV7276R
Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ B&N ~ Smashwords
About the Author:
The first time D.M. Burton saw Star Wars IV: A New Hope, she was hooked on science fiction and space travel. The Star Trek movies made her want to travel to other planets. Alas, she is still Earth-bound. D.M. and her husband live in Michigan, close to their two children and five grandchildren.
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She writes adult fiction as Diane Burton, where combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
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