Holy Cross eighth grader pens an adventure book
What child doesn’t like swashbuckling adventure stories with a hero that conquers evil?
Nick Noonan, 13, a Holy Cross eighth grader, was so drawn to these types of storylines that it inspired him to pen a trilogy of his own, “The Adventures of Charles Schenck.”
“He’s always enjoyed writing,” his mother Raechel Schenck said. “Instead of going to summer camp, he stayed home and wrote.”
The book was published by Louisiana Young Artists, Young Authors (www.layaya.org), of which Noonan is a member. Jo Hughes, a published author and folk artist, is director.
“Nick has an amazing imagination and drive,” Hughes said, and is one of the youngest published authors in Louisiana. “It is a great read for science fiction fans of all ages. I suspect this will be the first of many published works by this young man.”
Noonan was an early reader, Schenck, a teacher turned counselor, said, reading at age 18 months.
“He was very creative and smart and always caught on quickly,” Schenck said. “He always had an imagination, and we always wondered what was going on in his mind.”
At age 5, he lost his father to cancer. About that same time, he began creating his own characters and stories that his grandmother would type for him, Schenck said.
His early cartoons included a character named Hub (a shortened name of a character Herbert in his favorite childhood book “Don’t Let the Pigeons Drive the Bus”) and characters Spartan and Barton. Other cartoons included his pet rabbit Snowy as a super hero and characters loosely based on the movie, “Star Wars,” that he called “Natchez Wars.”
“The kids loved the story, so I kept doing it,” Nick said when he wrote the cartoon strip in fifth grade at Belle Chasse Middle School.
Nick recalled beginning to write short stories in sixth grade, creating a spy he called Logan Smith in “Operation Cyclone.”
Around the same time, he started writing the first “Charles Schenck and the Blade of God” story based in and around New Orleans. He said he modeled the title character after his stepdad, who has helped him and guided him in life since his father’s death by being kind, heroic and straightforward.
“He completes me as the dad in my life,” Nick said.
A fan of aliens, Nick oriented the first book around Charles Schenck fighting aliens and trying to save earth from an underworld led by King Pluto (the Roman god of the underworld). King Pluto wants to blow up earth to retrieve his “Blade of God” from the aliens who stole it. Charles Schenck travels to the underworld to help King Pluto fight the aliens to get the blade back and is deemed the chosen one.
The second story, “Charles Schenck and the Pearl of Wishes,” continues the first with Dr. Williams, who was introduced as the scientist who verified alien existence, rebuilding a lab that aliens had destroyed. He finds a secret UFO-busters lab along with a time machine and travels back in time with Charles, Rachel and Nick to discover the UFO-buster lab inventor while searching for the Pearl of Wishes. It has lots of twists and turns with cannibals, dinosaurs and dinosaur investigator Isaac McCoy. Charles battles McCoy for the “Pearl of Wishes” so that he can return home.
King Pluto is reintroduced in the third story, “The Four Stones of God.” The premise has Charles Schenck finding a letter from King Pluto, asking for help to find four stones with the powers of fire, water, earth and air. Schenck defeats the demons in this story, although he briefly dies – only to be reborn – leaving an opportunity to continue the adventures in future books.
“The whole reason I started writing this story was I was playing an Indiana Jones video game, and I thought it was fun,” Nick said.
Holy Cross English I honors teacher Maria Baisier encourages Nick – as she does all students – to “not be afraid to make a mistake” when writing. In addition to introducing great literature in her class, she reinforces proper grammar, telling students, “To be able to write stylish sentences you have to deal with grammar.”
“He’s very creative,” Baisier said. “He’s a good student and a bright young man. “
Nick said he likes putting the thoughts from his vivid imagination on paper and hopes that people are entertained by his stories filled with fantasy and science fiction. “It seems like nothing anyone has written before,” he said. “I am probably going to write another book.” He hopes to soon collaborate with fellow young writers in his LaYaYa group to write other books.