Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teen Inklings, Vol. 11: SPECIAL EDITION

Writer's note: In honor of Memorial Day, I'm running an article I wrote about a real teenage author. Enjoy!

Many teenagers aspire to be an author. Very few make it so far as finishing a novel. Even fewer get published. Jacob Parker, at only eighteen years of age, is one of those rare few who will see his name in print before he reaches the age of twenty.

Jacob set out to write his fantasy novel, Kestrel’s Midnight Song, while in the fourth grade. It took him two years to finish the first draft. Upon reflection, he says, “I wasn’t as disciplined as I should have been. I went through long periods of stagnation, felt like giving up several times.”

Luckily for readers, he persevered.

Kestrel’s Midnight Song is a mystery-fraught adventure novel about a shepherd boy named Micah. King Darius commissions wool to be sheared for his new wardrobe, and Micah’s sheep are unlucky enough to be chosen to make the long journey to Gable Kingdom Castle. Along the way they face many dangers, as well as the giant creature on the book’s cover.

“The Aegre Bird is simply a combination of a bird and a dragon,” the author says. “The only research I did was for the name. ‘Aegre’ is Latin for ‘scary.’ My original vision of the Aegre Bird was much different than what is on the cover today. Then, when the cover was completed, I was so inspired by it that I went back and changed all the descriptions to match.”

Before he got his final cover, though, he faced the obstacle of shopping his novel to different publishers. But Jacob’s process was different than most. His publisher, Flaming Pen Press, found Jacob’s blog, read the excerpt there, and left a comment inviting him to submit. And, well, the rest is history. Kestrel’s Midnight Song will be released later this year.

When asked what the drive behind writing a novel at such a young age was, Jacob replied, “When I first set out to write a novel in fourth grade, it was probably for fame and fortune. But I quickly got hooked on the joy of writing itself. I like taking bizarre stuff that could never be real... and experiencing it. With book two, though, I will have to be much more disciplined. The deadline looming on the horizon should strike enough fear into me to keep me focused.”

To wrap up my interview, I asked Jacob how his faith affects his novels. He said, “There are definite Christian themes in my writing. I like books that push me, make me think. And I’d like to use the time and gifts God has given me to accomplish more than entertainment. Fiction is a powerful vehicle for Truth and I intend to use it as such.”

Having read Kestrel’s Midnight Song myself, I can only conclude by saying it’s a fantastic story. Jacob Parker is truly a diamond in the rough. Being young hasn’t affected his ability to tell a powerful story. I can’t wait to read his next book.

You can find Jacob online at http://www.songlore.com/. To read the full interview, click here.

Stay tuned for next month's e-zine: THE EDITOR