Stuart Dover has been working toward his first book since he was 6 years old.
Dover, a 16-year-old homeschooled junior, recently published The Darkest Shade of White. Writing has been a part of his life since he was very young, and it’s hardly a hobby. He sets aside a few hours of each day to write, and he doesn’t receive school credit or prodding from his parents to do it.
“Since I’m homeschooled, there were days when I got up, ate breakfast, wrote a thousand words, then started school,” he said. “I don’t wait for inspiration.”
The Darkest Shade of White is 566 pages and tells the story of a boy who is transported to another world where art is a power source, and it chronicles his adjustment to this new world.
“It’s a traditional tale, in that story format that a lot of people can relate to where a boy finds out there’s more to life than he thinks there is,” he said. “Magical things happen, good things happen, and he’s thrown into a whole new reality that he has to learn to cope with.”
The book has been a process of more than two years’ labor for Dover, from the original idea to finished product.
He employs an intricate prepping process, sketching out character designs and summarizing each scene before weaving it all together.
“When I was 10 or 11, I used to just sit down with a little bit of an idea and just start punching out words and I’d give out by the third chapter because I just didn’t know where I was going,” he said.
The book is the first in a trilogy, he said, and he decided to go the self-publishing route in order to get immediate feedback for use in the rest of the series.
After sending query letters to agents and publishing houses for a few months, he and his parents decided to self-publish the book through CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon.com that allows authors to publish and distribute their work for a fee.
It took a few months for Dover to lay out the book and get the cover art and final touches complete.
The first box of books finally arrived earlier this summer.
“I opened the box and saw the books and I realized, I’m really doing something,” he said. “I wasn’t just screwing around with character designs anymore, I had made something that people could actually enjoy.”
His mother, Susan Dover, said seeing her son’s finished product was a special moment for her.
“I know how hard he worked; it was like a job to him,” she said. “I am so proud of him, because this is a dream that he’s always had.”
Charmain Brackett published her first book in June.
Even though she has worked as a freelance reporter for The Augusta Chronicle for more than 20 years, she said writing a book was different.
“People always told me, ‘You should write a book,’ and the time was finally right,” she said.
Working on the same project for 10 weeks was a workout for completely new mental muscles, she said. Most of her news stories range between 400 and 1,000 words, and most novels begin at 50,000 words.
“That might as well have been one million to me,” she said.
Brackett’s book, The Key of Elyon, is combination of many genres and is the first book she has ever written. She published it herself from beginning to end, getting help with the layout from a friend and purchasing the ISBN number and barcode. The book is available on Amazon.
Doing everything herself allowed Brackett to maintain complete creative control.
“This was extremely important to me,” she said.
Brackett said the first time touching her own book was an experience she’ll never forget.
“I’ve seen my name in print a gazillion times, but it went from being just this surreal feeling, to actually holding it in my hands,” she said.
“As corny as this sounds, I cried.”