Local writer debuts first book ‘Tabloid Tabby’Written by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
English was never Terry James’ strongest subject in school, but he remembers a writing class in junior high where, for an assignment, he wrote a short story about an underground, apocalyptic world.
“Writing has always been something I wanted to do, [but] I always struggled with it,” James said.
James’ love of storytelling has followed him to his adult life. His first book “Tabloid Tabby: The Hunchback of Eerie County High School” is being released and storylines for two sequels are already inching out of his brain and onto a Microsoft Word document.
The book follows Tabby in her race against the clock to save the most popular boy in school, who has turned into a deformed, hunchbacked monster.
“I was just at a grocery store one day and I happened to glance over at a couple of the tabloid papers that they sold,” James said. “I’m just kind of looking at them like ‘What would happen if those actually were true?’”
James, who works as a cable installation technician, would spend breaks in his workday at Starbucks.
“There were some times that I walked in without a penny to my name,” James said. “[The crew] knew why I was there, they knew what I was doing [and] they knew the potential behind it.”
Once the crew allowed James to just order water and write in the coffee shop for hours.
“I’m so glad they were cordial enough to let me sit here for as long as I did,” he said.
“Tabloid Tabby” is intended for ages 13 and up. James said he wanted to write a young adult novel for his first book to get “warmed up” as a writer.
“Starting off with a young adult [novel] is a comfortable spot for me just for the fact that I can keep it clean, I can keep it light and I think I can reach a bigger audience that way,” James said.
One fan of the book is his 14-year-old son, who enjoyed it for the twists and cliffhangers. James said it feels good to know his kids support his writing.
“The job I have works me a lot of hours; I mean, I’m gone a lot. I leave at 5, 6 o’clock in the morning and I don’t get home till 8 or 9 at night. The kids barely see me,” James said. “They don’t really know me too well is what my major fear is. One of my motivations in writing the book is maybe it does do well, and if that were the case I’d be able to spend more time with [them].”
James was raised in Toledo. He now resides in Deshler with his wife and five children, ages 3, 5, 9, 14 and 15.
James has been working on the book for three years. Midway through, when he had about 80 pages of the 168-page novel written, his laptop was stolen and the documents were not backed up.
“Everything I wrote just basically fluttered out in the wind,” James said. “I was getting depressed about it for a while.”
James managed to save 30 pages from his wife’s email archives and started over from there.
The book is dedicated to his father, who died last December.
“I think my father lived a life he had to lead, but I don’t think he really lived a life he wanted to lead. … I don’t think things turned out the way he wanted them to,” James said. “Another part of the motivation in writing this was because I didn’t want to end up like that. I didn’t want my end days to look back and say ‘I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve.’”
The book will be a three-part series; James is 30 percent done with the second installment. If all goes well, he has an idea for another three-part series that would take place within Eerie County, the same fictional county the Tabloid Tabby books are set. He’s currently working with the book’s illustrator Adam Zunk on artwork for the rest of the series.
The book is available now at www.publishamerica.net/product53691 and Amazon for $19.79. It will also soon be available at Barnes & Noble.