Daredevil Club

“A riveting story that will appeal to reluctant middle-school male readers. Highly Recommended.”

Canadian Book Review Annual

How far will Kip go to stay in the club?

Kip’s only friends are the members of the Daredevil Club, a club whose mission is to complete seven dangerous dares before their rivals, the Wildmen, complete their list of dares. Before the cliff diving accident in which he lost the use of his leg, Kip had been the leader of the Daredevil club. Now he has difficulty completing the dares and suspects that his membership is threatened. As the daredevils plan their final stunt, a dangerous climb along a narrow steel shelf beneath a bridge, they try to convince Kip that he may not be up to the task. Kip refuses to back down even though he suspects his friends might be right.

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Click here to learn about the story behind the book!

When I injured my back in a (non sports-related) fall many years ago, I went from being super-active and athletic to not being able to walk, sit or stand for very long at all. At times, I used a cane, and required wheelchair transport in airports. I endured chronic pain for years.

I wrote many of my books during that time with voice-activated software, because I could not sit at the computer much. But the hardest adjustment of all was losing touch with many friends because what we’d always had in common was sports. I could no longer do sports. And I spent a lot of time with physiotherapists and chiropractors. (Happily, I’ve recovered to a large extent.)

Clearly, the plot of Daredevil Club (in which Kip is willing to take unreasonable risks even after being injured, to keep up with friends) grew directly from that period.

“Kip,” [says the physio], “let’s see if your workouts have increased your range of movement this week. I’m hoping for big things today.”

        That meant big pain, I knew. But I knew I could handle it. I was an athlete. I was competitive. Just because I wasn’t in sports anymore didn’t mean I lacked an opponent. My adversary was the part of me that still didn’t work.

How did I come up with the seven dares that Kip’s gang attempts to do? I asked all the dads on my block the dumbest things they did as teens that they would never tell their teenage kids about. I ended up with a list of twenty-seven stupid “dare” types of things they did! We had a good laugh building that list.

Other trivia regarding Daredevil Club:

  • It is set in a fictional “hick” town called Peever. I grew up near Peever, South Dakota. (I was going to donate a copy of Daredevil Club to Peever Library when I finished, but it turns out they don’t have a public library.)
  • One of the dares involved crawling through a metal culvert. When dropping my son off at snowboarding one day, I saw a pile of metal culverts in the ski hill parking lot waiting for use in a construction project. When no one was looking, I crawled through one to make sure I’d be able to describe it realistically.
  • To describe the bridge girders along which they crawled, I did a long walk and pause under Burrard Street bridge in Vancouver, Canada (where I live).
  • The dunk tank in the fair was fun to describe. My husband once built one for my son’s backyard birthday party when my son was a preteen.
  • On page 51, Kip is in the physio’s waiting room when he picks up a motorcycle magazine and sees a two-page photo spread of a guy on a dirt bike doing a backflip thirty feet above two piles of dirt. Kip wonders whether the stunt worked out or whether maybe the guy landed on his back and was now in a wheelchair. I was writing Dirtbike Daredevils (my book on dirt biking) around the same time as I wrote Daredevil Club; that’s where that idea came from.
  • When I speak at schools, I’ve noticed that the boys especially lovehearing me talk about Daredevil Club. And they always want to know what else the dads on my block came up with that I didn’t include. As if I’d reveal that! Hey, maybe there’s another book in the rest of that list.