Crofton summer resident Johnathan Kuiper has just published “Lane,” the fourth and final book in his young adult fantasy series about a teen named ‘Keira.’
“I started the books for two different reasons,” said Kuiper. “I love the Chronicles of Narnia that C.S. Lewis wrote for his niece and I wanted to write something for my tween niece and nephew of my deceased brother Stephen.”
A teacher by trade, 39-year-old Kuiper wanted to develop a fantasy series for young adults that tackles the issues of bullying, grief and loss to overcome those issues in their own lives.
Kuiper uses his students for inspiration and feedback on the books as they progress.
“There are not enough books with strong lead female characters for tweens from 12- to 15-years-old which is the age range when young girls struggle with their identities and self-appearance,” Kuiper said. “(My) students said ‘we don’t need another boy book.’”
The fourth and final novel “Lane,” ties the series together as Keira searches for her mother and father to “identify with a family that all people need” Kuiper said.
The four-book series takes place over the course of two weeks.
“I get excited when I write,” Kuiper saiod. “The books make more sense when writing a series because you must tie the series (together) from the first book to the fourth.
“The process is the best part (of writing books). You get a glimpse into another world and let the characters tell their story.”
The book is based on where Kuiper and his family spent summers, Manning Lake in New Hampshire. Kuiper gets his book ideas from his students, news, and ‘just walking around’ observing others and ‘people-watching’ at places like the mall.
Kuiper allows his students to proof his books as ‘beta readers’ as they are his target audience. He sees if they’re grasping the high points of the story and observing if they are laughing at the funny parts.
“I really haven’t had any negative feedback (from students),” he said.
Kuiper wants to impart lessons in this four book series.
“Life is what you make of it,” said Kuiper. “We’re all going to have challenges, but how we handle those challenges will define who we are and who we will be.”
The aspect of loss is another lesson covered in the series. “How do we move on from loss?” Kuiper said. “Everyone has a tough time with that.”
Kuiper will live in Alton, New Hampshire this school year teaching middle school math. He has been teaching math for 14 years in numerous locations, including Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire and abroad.
The writing never stops.
“I’m always working on another novel,” he said. “Right now I have a young adult novel and a science fiction novel forming.” “Lane” is his 13th published novel.
All of Kuiper’s novels can be purchased on Amazon.com. The first two books of the series, “Luza” and “Riley,” are free ebooks.
The Forum will host Ret. Col. Kenneth McCreedy, former Commander of Fort Meade at noon Aug. 16. McCreedy is the senior director of the Cyber and Aerospace Division at the Maryland State Commerce Department. He recruits cyber security companies to relocate to Maryland.