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  • Writer's pictureA. Joshua Chiatovich

My First Novel

I came home last night, tired from a day of training and teaching and saw a box from London on my front porch. My heart immediately started racing as I knew exactly what it was, the first print of my first novel. Coming inside the house, I set the box down on my desk and stared at it. I didn't have the courage to open it. Inside this medium sized cardboard box sat four years of hard work, and a lifetime of dreams. I sat and stared.

I was around eleven years old when I discovered my passion for writing. We were tasked with writing a poem for creative writing class. I had never written poetry before but we had been reading the classics in class, and I thought I knew what to do. The poem I wrote was silly and light hearted, I had fun writing it but after turning it in for credit thought nothing else of it.

The next day my teacher asked me to stay after class, something I was not surprised by as I wasn't exactly a model student. Once the bell sounded and the other kids had gone she approached me and asked very bluntly if I had an adult write my poem for me. I was shocked, I'm sure there was plenty of stuff I could have been in trouble for, but this wasn't one of them. "No." I said, "I promise." My teacher looked at me and told me she believed me. She then went on to tell me I had a talent and asked me if I enjoyed writing. I hadn't really thought about it, there wasn't much I liked about school but I actually did like writing! "Yes." I answered her.

She kept me in the classroom for the next several minutes. We discussed famous poets and authors that I should read and she told me to write as much as possible. It was the first time I can remember a teacher showing any positive interest in me. I went home and started reading, Though you wouldn't know it from my writing style, my favorite author was Poe. I must have read everything he ever wrote in my young teenage years. As time went by I found that writing became much more than fun to me. The pen was my therapist, my lover, my guardian and my friend. I began dreaming of one day being a published author. I entered many poetry and short story contests and submitted many pieces of work for publication. Nothing much came from any of it, but I was young and eager.

Eventually the dreams of a child fade away, but I never stopped writing. Time goes by and life twists and turns, isn't it funny how things work? I first had the idea for BJM a little less than a decade ago as I was training. It was a simple idea, a praying mantis that practices Baji style kung Fu. That was it, nothing more. I sat on the idea for years waiting for the right moment to begin writing it, until one day I realized I couldn't wait any longer, it was time to write the story. I wish I could tell you the process was a smooth one, but that would be a lie. It was four years of hard work, frustration and edits, so many edits. it is definitely true that without my utter obsession with the characters and story, this novel would never have came to be.

But now here we are. My debut novel is set to release on July 27th 2023, a week from the day I am writing this. As I flip through the pages of a novel with my name on the cover, I am humbled. Though I have put in a great deal of work, I know I have more work to do, to constantly improve and grow. I sincerely hope that those of you who take the time to read my book will love it as I do! I'm currently writing book two, and will continue in this world for as long as possible. I hope you will take this journey with me, let's see how far we can go!

Wu Liang, Pangpang, and Xiaoxiao are waiting for you!

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