David Stricklen is a local artist and author of many books including Ripley Robinson and the Worm Charmer. He was formerly the Grand Rapids airport police chief, but now writes middle grade fantasy adventure books. David’s books are all “fast moving and unpredictable with no dead spots.” These are perfect for kids who are reluctant to read. When he was young, David's grandmother loved to make up stories with him, inspiring his career as an author.
David is currently trying out some ideas for a picture book and a second book for Ripley. His advice for aspiring authors is, “Read books in your genre. There is a lot to know. Join a writer’s group. If you write PB, MG or YA, join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.”
Ripley Robinson and the Worm Charmer summary:
In this fast-paced, unpredictable story, a talented wrestler gives his all to win a worm charming competition. Ripley’s introduction to his new middle school is with his head held down in a toilet bowl by Dirk, the varsity football star. During his escape, Ripley inadvertently breaks Dirk’s nose and Dirk dedicates his life to retaliation. The only bright spot in Ripley’s life is his wrestling ability…well, that and a cute and kooky girl named Geddy. But Geddy is obsessed with winning a worm charming contest. Geddy summons Ripley’s help in the town’s celebrated worm charming event because if they win the prize money, Geddy and her mother will be able to stay in Hidden Mountain. Problem is, Dirk feels he is due the prize money. And he’ll do ANYTHING to get his hands on it, including blackmailing Ripley if he doesn’t sneak him some of the captured worms. With all the challenges of physical intimidation, wrestling, worm charming and first love, Ripley must employ every mental and physical gift he has to stay on top.
“Worm charming is an actual contest where contestants beat on the ground to see how many worms come up," David said. "My challenge was to wrap a plot so tight around this strange contest that the number of worms coming to the surface becomes the most important thing in the world.”