“I wanted my students to have something different” – Smithfield Times

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Surry teacher-turned-author writes fantasy novel

When Surry County Public Schools teacher-turned-author DW Saur was taking courses for his degree in library science, he began reading as much young adult fiction as he could – only to feel like he was reading the same story over and over again.

The titles and character names were different, but books with female protagonists, especially in the fantasy genre, always tended to have male characters and romantic interests which Saur felt overshadowed the main character and detracted from the plot. ‘story.

“I wanted my students to have something different in every aspect of a fantasy novel,” Saur said.

As the saying goes, sometimes if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. So, about 10 years ago, Saur took a chance and started writing.

Today, he is the published author of three young adult novels and a children’s book, “Metal Like Me.”

“Vinny comes from a family of metalheads and like his parents, he is one too,” reads Amazon.com’s description of “Metal Like Me.” “As a child, Vinny was unaware of the differences in his family, but as he got older, Vinny noticed that he was actually not like other children. …Join Vinny as he shares his story of intimidation, difference, adaptation and perseverance.

Saur published his first children’s book in 2019. It received a “Story Monsters” award in 2020 in the school life category, and a “Purple Dragonfly” honorable mention in the school problems category.

He then followed up with “Dark Days,” a young adult fantasy novel set in the land of Sori, where a ghostly figure foments rebellion. The book follows Maya, a skilled hunter and master blacksmith who has yet to undertake her clan’s right of way. With the blessing of the goddess Nantosuelta, she begins her quest to find her powers and prevent war.

“Sori’s Cults were inspired by my love for the horror genre and supernatural creatures,” Saur said. “However, since I wanted this work to be different, I put my twist on what are considered vampires, werewolves, and witches in Sori.”

“Dark Days” was published by Koehler Books in October 2020.

“I hear people frequently use JK Rowling’s (author of Harry Potter) ‘almost 100 rejections’ as an example of how many rejections you can get,” Saur said. “I’ve greatly exceeded that number with agents and publishers combined.”

Saur thinks he could have released “Dark Days” sooner if he had followed what other writers were doing in incorporating romance, but “the goal was to create an original story,” he said.

In 2019, Saur had landed a contract for “Dark Days” but the publisher ended up closing before printing the book. When this happened, Saur hired an editor and began another round of edits.

“The path to publishing has been a long journey filled with ups and downs,” Saur said. “I never gave up because I believed in my stories, especially ‘Dark Days’.”

“Dark Days” won the 2020 Royal Dragonfly Book Award in the Young Adult Fiction and Sci-Fi/Fantasy categories. It went on to earn a 2021 Honorable Mention in the Young Adult Category of Readers’ Favorite Book Awards for Action. It was also a finalist in the 2021 American Fiction Awards for the “epic/high” category and a finalist in the sci-fi/fantasy and teens 13-18 categories at the 2021 Feathered Quill Book Awards.

Saur has published two other novels for young adults: “The Last Christmas” and “Just Friends”. Later this year, he plans to launch a historical fiction short story called “The Untold: Stories from World War II.”

At Surry County Public Schools, Saur is an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, or ITRT. Prior to that, he spent nearly a decade teaching middle school social studies with the Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools.


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