My son Jack was smart and outgoing. He got great grades. But he liked reading books about as much as he liked walking behind our two yellow labs on clean-up duty. He was way more interested in movies, TV, video games. At first, I wasn't too worried. But his vocabulary and writing skills began to slip. I decided to do something.
“I'm grateful for Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace, and Jack Templar. Especially Jack Templar. He made my Jack want to read books. And I can't think of any better gift than that.”
I created the Early Morning Book Club. That was my name anyway. To Jack, I'm sure it was the Early Morning Torture Club. The plan was that we'd get up early and Jack would read out loud to me for an hour. Luckily for him, his younger brother wanted in on the action, so Jack and Will read on alternating days. I taught the boys a lesson my fourth-grade teacher (the very British Mrs. Harvey) instilled in me: read with a pencil. Jack and Will underlined the heck out of words they didn't know and created a running vocabulary list.
On Sunday night of the first week, I heard the boys fighting about whose turn it would be to read on Monday morning. It sounded just like their arguments about whose turn it was to take out the trash. My little experiment was failing. I sucked it up and prepared to change course. But before I turned the corner from my eavesdropping hideout, I realized an amazing thing. Jack wanted it to be his turn. So did Will.
Ah, the sweet smell of temporary success.
I say "temporary" because I only had a good three weeks of this honeymoon. The newness wore off. I wondered if I was just making reading a chore. I needed to do something to make it more exciting.
I decided I'd write something that Jack and Will couldn't help but get sucked into: a story about two boys, Jack and his best friend Will (see how that works?), who become monster hunters. I wrote up the first chapter, introduced the main characters, and ended with a fight scene and a whopper of a cliffhanger. It was Jack's turn to read when my story made its debut. He was hooked. The buzz was back in the Early Morning Book Club. I had a lot of writing to do.
In time, Jack Templar Monster Hunter was born. My wife, Nicole, ever-supportive throughout this entire journey, encouraged me to publish it. So did friends and family. I decided to use Kindle Direct Publishing to put the book into the world.
The reception was more than we could have ever hoped for. Our family has read all 152 of the reviews from Amazon customers. We high-fived when the book became a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalist. We took a screenshot of Jack Templar on an Amazon category bestseller list right next to Percy Jackson and Harry Potter.
I've gone on to write more Jack Templar books as well as two novels for adults. Our experience with the Early Morning Book Club inspired me to write Reaching Your Reluctant Reader, a short book with all proceeds benefiting the Toys For Tots Literacy Program.
I'm grateful for Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace, and Jack Templar. Especially Jack Templar. He made my Jack want to read books. And I can't think of any better gift than that.