SKIATOOK — Some teenagers view cleaning their room or taking out the trash as a major accomplishment.
Jesse Haynes, 17, has written a novel.
“Honestly, I can’t say that I’m shocked,” Randy Haynes said of his son, a senior-to-be at Skiatook High School. “When he was about in the sixth grade, I was asking him what he wanted to do this summer, expecting him to say float the Illinois (River) or something. He said, ‘I’m going to write a book and get it published.’ ”
That manuscript, which was put aside for a few years so he could refine his writing skills, is being rewritten, Jesse said. But his other work, “Creepers,” a 200-page, science fiction thriller, became available online this month through Mustang-based Tate Publishing. The young-adult novel will be released Aug. 26 through outlets such as Kindle, Nook, iTunes and Barnes & Noble bookstores.
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” Jesse said. “I started telling stories at a really, really early age, and I would act them out with my Scooby-Doo figures.”
“Creepers” is about an astronaut who brings an extraterrestrial virus back to earth, awakes from a coma and infects people with a strain that turns them into “creepers.” Five years later, two brothers traverse the United States and fight for survival while keeping the creatures at bay.
The story’s premise came from a friend, who told him that he should write a zombie book “because that’s what’s cool right now,” said Jesse, who has competed in basketball and track and field in high school. “I’ve never read any sci-fi in my life. I’m not into that genre really. I like action-adventure stuff. … But I thought I would give it a go.”
So off he went.
His parents bought Jesse a laptop for his 16th birthday, said his mom, Robin. Pretty soon, he was carrying either that or a notebook everywhere he went, logging what his imagination provided him.
“He’s been known to skip school assemblies to write,” his mother said. “If they have some kind of assembly that’s not vital, he’ll go to a study hall instead to write.”
At home, Jesse composed from a recliner in the living room, she said.
“It’s pretty bad when you’re a mom and you have a 17-year-old and you’ll say, ‘Honey, do you want to take a break?’ ” Robin Haynes said.
Jesse finished “Creepers” in about four months.
“For me, the hardest part is completing that outline,” he said. “Once you have the outline done, I just tell myself to write two pages a day until I get the book finished.”
His book is dedicated to his fourth-grade teacher, Deborah Branscum, who “showed me the love of writing and what could be done with it,” Jesse said.
With marketing ready to commence on his first novel, Jesse already is about 70,000 words into his second, which he describes as a young-adult, action-adventure novel. He estimates he has six chapters to go.
“He’s told me all his life that he was going to write a book,” Robin Haynes said.
“And I’ve always said he needed a back-up plan. His dad and I both still say that.
“But it’s a dream he’s always had and always pursued. I love the way he takes off and goes after what he wants.”