Boy, 11, pens first novel in fantasy series
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@mdjonline.com
March 13, 2011 12:00 AM | 5300 views | 6 6 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
 Will Mathison signs a copy of his book for Kim Chandler, mother of Shallowford Falls fourth-grader Katie Chandler.<br>Staff/Marcus Howard
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EAST COBB - Will Mathison, a fifth-grader at Shallowford Falls Elementary, just learned cursive writing a few years ago, but he's already a published author and illustrator.

The 11-year-old recently completed his first book, a 270-page fantasy adventure, titled "The Battles of Liolia: The Last of Kal," which was self-published in February and is available for purchase online at Amazon.com. On Thursday evening, Will signed copies of his paperback book at his school's book fair.

It's the first in a series of five books that Will plans to write and illustrate about the adventures in the fictitious land of Liolia. In "The Last of Kal," readers meet Speilton Lone, the main character whose village is destroyed. With nothing more than a blue egg and instructions to travel north, he is led on an adventure filled with challenges, new friends and personal growth.

The second book in the series, "The Inferno of Erif," is set to be published in the fall.

An avid reader since the second grade, Will said he drew inspiration from other fantasy adventure book series such as "The Chronicles of Narnia," "Harry Potter," and "Percy Jackson & the Olympians."

"I read Narnia and really liked the concept of this other world," Will said. "So I created a map. After that, I created a story that went along with the map about everything. Finally, I decided to start writing about the world."

For two hours each day over the summer, Will worked on the book, not only writing but also drawing several illustrations for it. He completed the manuscript with the help of his family and school librarians, he said.

"I was just amazed that a (then-)10-year-old kid could carry on this character through all these adventures," said Janice Kelley, Shallowford Falls media specialist. "It was so focused and well-organized."

What's perhaps more impressive about Will, besides his writing talent, is his decision to donate all of the proceeds from his book to Relay for Life, in recognition of his friend's little brother who is battling Leukemia.

Though they sometimes had to drag him away from writing in order to work on his homework or eat dinner, Brett and Liz Mathison said they're proud of the eldest of their three sons, which includes Charlie, 9, and Jack, 8.

"We're glad that he stuck with it and that he's excited about continuing the series," Liz said. "When he was little, he would color pictures of Batman in 20 different pages and would always want to staple it together. He always wanted to make a book."

Will said he hopes readers will become engaged with the characters and stories he plans to continue creating. He's already 100 pages into the second book.

But with middle school on the horizon, as well as football, tennis, soccer and other activities he enjoys participating in, Will doesn't expect to complete the entire, five-book series anytime soon.

"I might kind of slow down the process," he said.
Comments
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Liz Mathison
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May 18, 2011
Mrs. Sproat,

Will really enjoyed speaking to your students. The cards they made for him were very thoughtful. He's looking forward to working on the 2nd book this summer. We'll let you know when it's ready. Thank you for inviting him to share with your classes.
Mrs. Sproat's Class
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May 12, 2011
We are reading your book in class together and we are REALLY enjoying it. Thank you so much for your visit yesterday at Kincaid. We look forward to reading your second too! Thanks again, Mrs. Sproat's 2nd grade class
Jennifer Thanepohn
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March 16, 2011
Brett,

The Thanepohn's got a signed copy last night at our scout meeting!!!! :-)

I can only imagine how proud you all must be.

Brett Mathison
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March 14, 2011
Thank you for your comments. In addition to Amazon, Will's book is available for sale locally at Shallowford Falls Elementary. Also, I believe teachers can get a copy sent through interoffice mail. Thanks again!
jw3000pyrob schrader
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March 13, 2011
Does anyone know where this can be purchased locally? I'd love to get one and show it to my students.
KayTaylor8
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March 13, 2011
What an amazing and talented child!
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