When Rebecca Fjelland Davis was a little girl living in a farmhouse right outside of Huxley, she knew she was going to “make stories” when she grew up.
The house she lived in no longer exists. In its place stands the new Ballard High School building. But it was in the old high school building, now Ballard Middle School, where she found great encouragement from teachers to pursue writing. And that encouragement still pushes her to live her writing dream today.
Currently an instructor of English and humanities at South Central College in Mankato, Minn., Davis makes time for writing in the hours that she is not teaching or grading papers.
“I write early in the morning and on the weekends when I can,” she said. “And I write like a madwoman all summer.”
Her commitment to writing has led to several completed children’s and young adult books. “Slider’s Son,” her third young adult novel, just released this fall.
Slider’s Son is a young adult mystery novel about friendship, danger and murder, with a baseball thread running throughout. It’s set at the end of the Great Depression in small-town North Dakota. According to Davis, beyond the story, the book has important historical context, showing how the Depression played out in the daily lives of Midwesterners, and how the world was affected as Hitler rose to power.
Davis got the inspiration for the book from an acquaintance who liked to tell her wildly crazy stories about his past. Though the book is fictional, there are elements of real life occurrences. And the murder in the book? It really did happen.
The book is rated for fourth grade and up, but Davis said her reader demographic is very diverse.
“I’ve learned from readers that adult males like it the most, but I also met a 10-year-old girl who was really excited to have me sign her book,” she said.
Davis is currently traveling around the Midwest promoting Slider’s Son with public readings and book signings. She recently read to a group of readers, young and old, at Dorcas Hall in Cambridge, and will be back in central Iowa in a few weeks.
She’ll be doing a presentation for Ballard Middle School students on Friday morning, Nov. 10, followed by a book signing at Huxley Public Library until noon.