Writer of chil­dren’s fic­tion pon­ders the sto

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODFARE -

WITHIN the first 20 pages of Rachel Wil­davsky’s book The Se­cret of Rover, the lives of 12-year-old twins Katie and David are turned up­side down. Their par­ents are kidnapped in a for­eign coun­try, and it’s up to them to fig­ure out how to get them back. The only prob­lem is, their babysit­ter is in on the kid­nap­ping.

“What I wanted to do in a book is put my char­ac­ters in very tough spots – the tough­est spot I can think of – and then see if they can get out of it,” said Wil­davsky from her home in Chevy Chase. “That was the idea for this book.”

Katie and David’s ad­ven­ture takes them out of their city, Washington, to Ver­mont and then back again be­fore they fig­ure out what’s go­ing on, and what the se­cret of Rover is.

Wil­davsky, 53, has al­ways been a writer, just not al­ways one for kids. In fact The Se­cret of Rover, which is per­fect for age nine and older, is her first book for kids. She was a jour­nal- ist for years, reporting facts and cov­er­ing sto­ries in cool places in­clud­ing the White House. She has al­ways been a reader, too, grow­ing up with the Laura In­galls Wilder books and The Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia. She never thought about writ­ing for kids. Then one day, she came up with the idea of writ­ing a story about char­ac­ters who lose it all and then have to fig­ure out what to do.

“I’m al­ways… imag­in­ing what I would do in an emer­gency. If I’m

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