Blake Litton may not be on the New York Times Bestseller List, but he is a published author.
Not bad for a fifth-grader at Nautilus Elementary School in Federal Way.
Litton’s book, “The Forbidden Forest,” is the 10-year-old’s entree into the literary world.
The 96-page book, which is available for purchase through Amazon, is about the adventures of a pair of teenagers who enter a forbidden forest behind their houses, get teleported to a cave, encounter skeletons with swords and shields and, eventually, a monster.
“The best part was coming up with all the characters, but mostly coming up with the monster,” Litton said, adding the idea for the antagonist in the book came to him one day when he was thinking about tyrannosaurus rexes, sharks and giants, and he decided to make his monster a combination of all three.
Litton, who took some of his inspiration from adventure books he likes to read, such as “The Magic Tree House” and “Percy Jackson” series, as well as his own imagination, said he decided he wanted to become an author before he came up with the idea for the book.
“Well, I wanted to write a book because my mom is an author, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps in becoming an author,” Litton said of his mother, Melody, who writes light-hearted self-help books that she self-publishes. “… I thought I could come up with better ideas than she could.”
Litton said he began writing the book when he was 9, and it took him about a year to write.
He set a goal of writing one chapter a week, and, except for summer break, which he took off, he diligently met his self-imposed deadlines.
“Well, when I first got started, as I went on with the book, I started getting more ideas, and as I got the ideas I kept on writing until the end,” he said.
After he was finished with his book, his mother and father helped him edit the finished product, and he made his own revisions.
Litton’s book-writing efforts did encounter a few stumbling blocks, however, such as writers block. When that happened, he said he either took a break or got a good night’s sleep and rewrote the section that was troubling him.
“The hardest part was trying to figure out how to end it,” he said.
Like his mother, Blake Litton’s book is self-published. He used the program Create Space to write and develop it. Litton hired Federal Way resident Marquiz Woods to format and design his cover, and Woods also drew the monster on the cover based on how Litton told him it should look.
It cost Litton $3 for every book, and he is charging $8 per book, which will allow him to pay back his mother and save the rest. He said his ultimate goal is to save up the money and start a bank account when he reaches $300.
“When the box of books came, I was really excited and happy to get my first books,” he said.
As of earlier this week, Litton has sold more than 40 books, which he considers a good start, considering his first order contained 50 books.
“It feels really, really good to have accomplished writing one of my own books,” he said.
Litton said, so far, “The Forbidden Forest” has garnered good reviews, which pleases him.
His classmates have been suitably impressed, as well.
“At school, they think it’s pretty cool and some think I’m already famous,” Litton said, adding other classmates think he has to write a couple more books before he becomes famous.
Litton said he thinks it would be great to be a professional author and be famous because he would make lots of money.
“I’m totally OK with him making lots of money,” Melody Litton said.
While “The Forbidden Forest” ends in a bit of a cliff-hanger, Litton said he intends to wrap up the story in his second book, after which he will probably end the series.
Litton said he has lots of ideas for the second book, although he has not started writing it yet. He said he will begin writing it after this Saturday’s book-signing, which he is hosting at Sub Zero Ice Cream. His mother agrees that he’s in good shape to begin.
“I think he has thought through the second book a little bit more,” she said.
Both Litton and his mother agree that he is a better writer now than he was when he first started “The Forbidden Forest.”
“It was fun to see his growth throughout the year,” Melody Litton said.
She said she wasn’t necessarily surprised her son wanted to write a book, although family members disagreed whether it would come to fruition.
“Well, his brother thought he’d never finish it, but I kind of thought he would,” Melody Litton said. “I was really impressed with how good it was.”
Melody said she is proud of her son’s accomplishment.
“He’s been pretty good about staying on task and doing things that mattered to him, and this seemed like it mattered to him,” she said.
Melody Litton also said she has no doubt her son is up to the challenge of writing more books.
“Mostly he just has a good imagination,” she said. “He comes up with lots of stuff I wouldn’t come up with.”
Even though Litton intends for the sequel to wrap up what he started in “The Forbidden Forest,” he said he has no intention of giving up writing and intends to start another series.
He also hopes writing and publishing his own books will inspire other children to follow their dreams.
“Anybody can achieve their goals if they try hard enough, and it could be fun,” he said.
As well as Amazon, Litton’s books can be purchased through Facebook. Some will also be for sale at Saturday’s book signing.