Laurence St. John’s story is full of twists and turns, with an important message for all of us – “whatever your endeavors, rise above your doubts.”
The message holds true for St. John’s own life, as well for young Tyler Thompson – the protagonist of St. John’s new book, “Metatron, The Angel has Risen.”
In the middle-grade sci-fi adventure, 12-year-old Tyler has a secret – he’s not a “normal” boy. After his father dies tragically, the youth finds himself in one predicament after another, until one day he and his faithful dog Maxx fall into a cesspool of mysterious green goop.
After his grandfather presents him with an object not from this Earth, Tyler discovers he has strange powers. Unfortunately, so does the sinister Dr. Payne.
Tyler, Maxx and Tyler’s best friend Lukas – who also has a special ability – set out to put an end to Dr. Payne’s evil scheme to control the world's children. Tyler must make a life-altering choice--one that could change the world.
Born in Toledo, St. John grew up in Genoa, graduating from Genoa High School in 1983. After graduation, he took a job at Guardian Industries.
In his spare time, he devoted himself to Tae Kwon Do, earning a first-degree black belt in 1988 – an accomplishment that helped hone self-confidence and perseverance that guide him even today, he says.
In 1990, he married the love of his life, Julie, and adopted her two young children, Joe and Jan shortly after. Like most families, the St. Johns were focused on working and raising their young family. While working in the steel processing business, a former manager encouraged him to attend college and pursue a degree.
“I guess he felt that I had potential,” St. John said. “When I was younger, I was making a good living working at Guardian 60 or 70 hours a week, and I thought, I don’t need to go to school.
“But over my work career, the companies I had worked for were sold and I was having to reapply for my job, so I thought furthering my education might be a good idea,” he said.
St. John enrolled at Owens Community College to pursue an associate’s degree in Microcomputer Business Systems. It was in a composition class that a longtime love for writing was rekindled. He enjoyed his writing assignments, and was encouraged by his professor, Russell Bodi – who happened to be his seventh-grade English teacher. “I thought, maybe when I retired – whenever that would be – writing might be something to do,” he said.
The path to his writing career began in 2006 when he found himself fighting for his job again after his place of employment changed hands for the third time. That same year, his first granddaughter, Kendall, “Papa’s Angel,” was born.
“I was frustrated and worried whether I would have a job,” St. John said. “And I guess the prospect of becoming a grandfather reaffirmed that I really wanted to do something important and meaningful with my life. One night in bed, the idea of writing a book just popped in my head.”
In the evenings and on weekends, St. John would go off to himself and put his ideas and random thoughts on paper. “Growing up, I always liked reading science fiction and superheroes stories,” he said. “In my story, Tyler is a conglomeration of myself, my son Joe and a few others I’ve known along the way.
“About three months into the project my wife asked me what I was doing,” he said. “I didn’t know how she’d perceive it, but when I told her, she said ‘good for you’ – she was very supportive.”
About a year later, he had a rough draft completed, but was unsure of where to go from there.
Ironically, just after he finished, St. John received an alumni magazine from Owens. One of the articles featured Toledo-area author Keith Lee Johnson. The story included his email address.
St. John took a chance and emailed Johnson, who contacted him shortly after. “He gave me the ins and outs of what to expect. There were all sorts of things I had no idea about – costs involved with publishing a book, query letters, agents, ‘book doctors,’ publishers, etc.
“He also cautioned me to be prepared for rejection,” he said.
Through networking, St. John connected with Imajin Books – a publisher interested in the book. Sustained by that self-confidence and perseverance he developed from Tae Kwon Do, he completed the edits, rewrites and clarifications and earlier this year, he was thrilled to finally be able to hold a copy of “Metratron: The Angel Has Risen” in his hands.
“It was very exciting,” he said, adding that he has already started the process of writing his next several novels, finding endless inspiration in his three grandkids, Kendall, Eli and Sadie.
The book retails for $9.99 and is available at online booksellers. For more information, visit www.laurencestjohn.com, where there are also links to St. John’s Twitter and Facebook as well as his blog.
Author Laurence St. John, of Northwood, is receiving good reviews for his first book, “Metatron: The Angel Has Risen.”