MISSING. That’s what the posters say about the girl. But this isn’t just another missing kid—not for 10-year-old Calvin Crane. After he bumps into a strange guy at Yellowstone National Park who’s secretly snatching the posters, Calvin thinks their van is being tailed. Getting murdered isn’t exactly on the family itinerary. As the family travels on a cross-country road trip to California for the wedding of a family friend, Calvin can’t shake the eerie feeling that he’s being followed—suspicious-looking people, strange vehicles. Who can he trust? He wonders: where is that little girl? Is he being stalked by a kidnapper or is his mind playing tricks on him? Does danger lurk just a couple steps behind?
Get to know Kevin:
Tell us what this book is about.
MISSING is a humorous yet creepy young adult suspense novel about a boy’s obsession with the case of a missing girl, and his own internal search for self-acceptance. The story’s main character, Calvin Crane, is a 10-year-old who is struggling to accept his ethnicity, as well as come to grips with his mental illness. After his family embarks upon a cross-country summer road trip from Maryland to California, Calvin has an unusual encounter with a strange man at Yellowstone National Park–a man he later believes is responsible for the disappearance of 5-year-old Gracie Stevens. As the family travels state-by-state, Calvin is convinced that he’s being stalked by the little girl’s kidnapper. He becomes leery of every vehicle, suspicious of every person. He can’t shake those nagging questions: Where is little Gracie? Is his mind playing tricks on him, or does danger lurk just a couple steps behind?
Why did you choose to write this book?
I wrote MISSING because I wanted to share Calvin Crane–in all his irreverence, dark humor, imperfections and inner turmoil–with the world. At the same time, I wanted to make his story known–his struggle to accept himself and to learn to live fearlessly. What’s unique about the story is that main characters like Calvin are not common in today’s mainstream YA literature. There’s a myth that black boys don’t read, and as a result there aren’t many black boys featured as viewpoint characters. While I didn’t write the novel for the sole purpose of dispelling this myth, I’m hoping that I contribute to its demise. MISSING is a story that I believe will greatly resonate with today’s readers–youth and adults alike, regardless of race.
Tell us why your writing is unique.
My writing is unique in that I like to write without a filter. I don’t water down my characters to make them more palatable. I allow them to be as funny, honest, controversial or as troubled as they need to be. Difficult or controversial material that might be more convenient to eliminate during final edits, I tend to leave in because it’s the raw truth. That rawness is what readers connect with most. They purchased your book to get a glimpse into how you really feel, not necessarily to read only what you think they want to hear.
What can we look forward to from you?
I thank God that MISSING has been so very well-received. I’m currently writing the next mystery in the Calvin Crane Chronicles. The working title is LOOKING FOR TROUBLE–Calvin visits an island in southern Florida and manages to get caught up in even more drama. I also have two adult titles in the works—one about a woman’s 25-year secret, and the other about a working man who turns vigilante after getting swindled by a fraudulent homebuilder during the last housing boom. I always try to entertain and enlighten. I’m very excited about what the future holds, and what’s in store for readers.
Twitter Handle: @KevinDonPorter