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From backstage to budding author
A school district media specialist fulfills a nearly lifelong goal of having a book published.
By GAIL DIEDERICH, Times Correspondent
Published January 15, 2008
Jerry Teske, district media specialist for productions in the Pasco County Schools, shows his first book, The Gnome in the Tapestry, published recently by iUniverse, a division of Barnes & Noble. The book targets teens and young adults.
For 19 years, Jerry Teske has kept things running smoothly as district media specialist for productions in the Pasco County schools. Not one to thrust himself into the spotlight, Teske is usually behind the scenes, helping solve problems and guide people as they create media productions.
But his backstage role is about to change.
Back home on Dunn's Creek in southern Putnam County, when the work day is over, Teske has been busy with another kind of problem solving. He's been creating characters and situations for his first novel, The Gnome in the Tapestry, published recently by iUniverse, a division of Barnes & Noble. Teske will make his first public appearance with a book signing, 1 to 3 p.m., Jan. 26 at Books-A-Million in Port Richey.
The novel, targeted at teens and young adults, got its start 25 years ago when Teske drew up a fantasy land map and used it with family and friends to sketch out adventures for characters they created over the years.
"In the summer of 2006, some new friends of mine liked some of the ideas I brought up, helped me make up some new characters, and encouraged me to write a book," Teske says.
That was the push Teske needed. He'd attempted writing a novel in 1975, just to say he had done it, but wasn't satisfied with it and left writing alone for many years. Now the time seemed right and Teske jumped into the story.
"I wrote almost every evening for about nine months to finish the book. I also spent a lot of time during holidays and vacations writing," he explains.
Friends Jason Korsiak, Tim Ellington and Rodney Covington got him started. Teske's wife, Cindy, and adult daughters Natalie, an Orlando media specialist, and Laura, who lives with husband Brad in Ohio, encouraged him to complete the book and find a publisher.
The fantasy novel weaves a story of adventure after the moon falls on the land, opening a giant fissure and releasing a great demon. Gnomes along with their beloved King Trellin disappear and civilization and magic disintegrate. A search begins with three characters hoping to find the king. Teske created an ending that he thinks readers will be eager to discover.
The love of good stories goes back to Teske's childhood. He enjoyed all kinds of reading but as he grew older, his focus turned to science fiction and fantasy.
"I was a good writer," Teske says, "Not great - but I had a good imagination and came up with some unique ideas for my assignments."
For now, during the days, Teske works at problem solving in media productions, often writing scripts and creating the types of visual things educators need. But at night, at home, he is back to writing more stories.
"I'm working on the first book of a trilogy to follow The Gnome in the Tapestry, called Racing the Moon. I hope to finish it and have it out November 2008," Teske says.
Teske has a few years left with the county school system. After retiring, he hopes to carve a second career as a writer.
How did Teske feel when he saw his first novel in print?
"I almost didn't believe at first that I had actually written it," he says. "It was kind of a surreal feeling. I had to show it to everyone I knew when I received the first copies. Some of them didn't believe it at first, either."
If you go
Jerry Teske will appear at a book signing from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 26 at Books-A-Million in Port Richey. For information about The Gnome in the Tapestry, visit Teske's Web site at www.dunnscreekfantasy.com, or www.gnomeinthetapestry.com.