Don M. King, a teacher at James A. Garfield Middle School in Garrettsville holding his recent book “NINE”, the first of a trilogy (still to come “Soulless” and” Faithless”).

By Nancy Huth

“Books are a free vacation,” declares Don M. King, a teacher at James A. Garfield Middle School in Garrettsville, who has self-published “Nine” his first Young Adult novel.  It’s a science fiction story for young adults between the ages of 13 and 21.  Don is a 1980 graduate of Cardinal High School and a 1988 graduate of Kent State University where he earned a BS in English Education with a minor in Psychology, along with an Elementary Teaching certificate.  He’s been teaching English to eighth graders at the Middle School for 18 years.  In addition Don was drama adviser there for 15 years, producing 33 shows, five of which were original.  Four years ago his play “Shhh”  was published by Brooklyn Publishing.

Don’s hobby of playing the guitar was nourished in Nashville where he lived and studied songwriting in the 1990’s and worked as an apprentice songwriter for Benson Music Group.  In Nashville he won a Gospel Music Association national songwriting competition.  Don says this opened many doors for him, but he feels he has touched more lives teaching than he ever would have as a songwriter.  Today you can hear Don playing guitar at the Middlefield United Methodist Church.

In answer to why he started writing novels, Don believes that the video game, cell phone and computer virus has infected too many teens.  His goal is to inspire youth to start reading again, especially over the summer. He wants to be part of the “resurrection of reading.”

Don’s recent book NINE is the first of a trilogy (still to come “Soulless” and” Faithless”).  Since the Hunger Games series, the market has been inundated with dystopian fiction.  Dystopia  refers to an imaginary society in which social or technological trends have culminated in a diminished quality of life or degradation of values.  Young adults have been drawn to this type of novel.  Don summarizes his new book as follows: “Sixteen year-old Faith Monroe needs to know if there’s an assigned seat for her in the universe before she loses her life. It’s the year 2025, and she’s one of several teens slated to discover her expiration date, but there’s only one complication: The transport she’s riding in has a number of teens, including herself, who never received the extraterrestrial death chip. A device implanted at birth set to kill you at your appointed time. As perfect genetic matches for the leaders of the planet NINE, Faith and her friends must prevent an assimilation of their souls. Follow Faith and her new friends on their journey to expose the government for its evil ploy and discover why dying for your country may not be as noble as you think. At least—not when alien technology is involved.”

For Don, the best thing about the whole publishing adventure, has been getting to know other writers, editors, agents, etc. Publishing is an extremely complicated process. It’s not like writing one book and having it sell in the book stores. Don has written five novels so far but this is his first publication. He writes as he goes along without many notes or a story outline and says this “reckless abandoned” style of writing can be both a blessing and a curse.  He allows conflict and characters to determine where the novel is headed. A final fun thing about writing was seeing the joy on his wife Cheryl’s face when success came knocking.  Don is grateful to his family, school and church friends for their support.

“Nine” was released on May 12 by Snow Leopard Publishing.  It is currently available on their website  Use the code King 15 to get a 20 percent discount. It is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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