After I wrote Bullets, Blood and Stones: the journey of a child soldier, one of my editors kindly hinted that I shouldn’t do the typical turn-it-into-a-series kind of thing. “Stop right where you are, Donna,” he said, “It’s good where it ends.”
And I kind of believed him. As a first time writer I found the whole process of writing, editing and re-writing again and again, well, a little bit exhausting. It would be nice to take a break from the keyboard, stop and smell the flowers so to speak. But I couldn’t. I knew Charlie’s story didn’t end there. As much as I would like to leave the reader with that wonderful image of Charlie dancing in the rain, I couldn’t let them think that that was all there was to it: a child soldier escapes and all is well. Because it isn’t.
When I returned to Uganda I learned about the ajiji. Flashbacks that haunted these former child soldiers both day and night. And I realized, although Charlie’s body may be free when he escapes, his mind isn’t.
That’s why the story couldn’t end there.
So, my readers, the second book in the Stones Trilogy: Arrows, Bones and Stones: the shadow of a child soldier, exposes you to a different kind of battle. An internal struggle that, although someone on the outside looking in cannot see, it is still very real. It’s an intense struggle that I hope I have shed some light on so we can be more empathetic to those boys and girls, men and women, who struggle to regain their stolen childhoods everyday.
My journey as an author, giving voice to child soldiers.