One of the most exciting things for me as we are going through the process leading up to the publication of 7th Grade Revolution is that the publisher, Vesuvian Books, commissioned artwork, sort of a mood piece, to precede each of the chapters in the book. I had the opportunity to work with the talented Luke Spooner and watch scenes from the book spring to life.
The first image in the book captures a scene added well after the manuscript had been completed. When I wrote 7th Grade Revolution I chose to set the book in the Spring as the classroom experience at Exploris Middle School occurred in February. But when the publication date for the book was set for October, the publisher asked whether the story could take place in the Fall instead. And the answer was yes, I could change things. The only thing vital to me was it had to be Daylight Savings Time. But I had to go back through the book and do another revision.
With the time of year being October, I wanted to give it a little holiday flavor, and what better to start with than a prank. And as soon as the word prank hit my mind, I knew exactly who would be behind it: Spencer Jackson. Spencer is the kind of kid who doesn’t take things seriously, is more interested in playing jokes on his classmates than cracking a book, likes to think of himself as a rebel and the class clown rolled into one. And trying to get a reaction from a girl with a fake spider was exactly the type of thing he would do. The moment from 7th Grade Revolution:
Spencer Jackson pulled a tarantula on a string out of his pocket and dangled it behind Selena Woodham’s head. His buddies nearly fell off their chairs trying to suppress their laughter while Spencer inched the spider closer to Selena’s shoulder.
I had a blast going back through and adding little moments here and there to add the Fall flavor to the novel. It enhanced what I already had on the page, and I’m grateful I was asked to make the changes.