Students at the Rabiner Treatment Center had a unique opportunity Monday to hear from a professional writer during their language arts class time.
Kevin Kelleher, a Fort Dodge Senior High graduate who is currently an author and playwright living in New York City, spoke to a group of around 20 seventh- through 12th-grade students about his recently published novel, the first in his Chronicles of Gilderam trilogy.
Rachel Haberl, language arts instructor at Rabiner, said her students have been reading novels in class and have expressed an interest in reading and writing.
"The kids here love to read," Haberl said. "All of my classes are reading novels and having an author come is a good tie-in to that to get them excited about writing."
Kelleher's father, Steve Kelleher, is a social studies and music teacher at the Rabiner School, and that connection brought him to the classroom to share his own experiences as a writer.
"I really got started when I was about your age," said Kelleher. "I read a lot of fantasies and really sat down and started to write when I was in seventh grade."
Kelleher's interest in "Magic" trading cards and games also inspired the ideas behind his books.
"I was really into Magic games and books and 'Lord of the Rings' and thought I'd really like to write something like that," he said. "It's kind of created to be like an Indiana Jones movie."
Kelleher's book tells the story of the people of Gresadia in the fictional world of Vuora, who are at war with elves.
"The decide they want to rid the world of the elves once and for all," said Kelleher.
The final product was a work of more than 12 years, Kelleher told the students.
"I probably spent 12 or 13 years on this," he said.
Kelleher encouraged the students to write out their ideas if they are interested in becoming writers.
"Write it all out," he said. "The best thing you can do is get experience and work your hardest. Share your work with people."
After many revisions, Kelleher said the final product was worth the extra work.
"Every book you see on a shelf, lots of people put time and effort into them," he said. "But there is nothing more rewarding than seeing your efforts finally printed out."