Torin Johnson, freshman engineering major, wrote a graphic novel to be released later this month.
Writing a novel is many people’s dream, yet due to the arduous nature of the undertaking, many aspiring writers become too discouraged to ever start. And, once written, getting a novel published is an even more difficult and daunting task. However, freshman civil engineering major Torin Johnson was not intimidated by these tasks and faced the adventure head on.
While engineering and writing are not generally viewed as similar endeavors, Johnson said he has a passion for both. He said that he loves engineering because “it keeps the world safe and keeps the structures strong.” Johnson was drawn to writing because he said he has a massive imagination and needed to put it somewhere, so he chose writing as his outlet.
Johnson’s novel, “A Hero Reborn,” is superhero prose about an 18-year-old who is about to graduate from high school. His father is a superhero, but a gang murders him. Instead of going to a university like most people his age were doing, he decided to walk in his father’s footsteps and attempt to develop his father’s superpowers. In taking over for his father, he learns that it takes much more than just super powers and strength to be a hero.
Johnson said he has an avid imagination when it comes to comic books and superheroes, and wanted this novel to be from a child’s point of view. He said he would think out what a scene would visually look like in order to put it into words, and through that method composed his novel.
Johnson said it took him approximately a month-and-a-half to write the first draft. Johnson underwent a year of editing, as well as adding in pictures at the beginning of every chapter in order to get the novel ready for print.
The experience of working with an editor was a positive one for Johnson, he said. The editor was very understanding and helpful.
“He knew that I was putting a lot of my own life into the character,” Johnson said.
The editor did not edit out any of the personal details and focused on making “A Hero Reborn” as good as it could possibly be.
Johnson said he has been writing since he was a young child. When he was eight-years-old he entered a national writing competition and won third place. When Johnson was in high school he joined the writing club. Johnson said that he drew inspiration from a documentary he watched in 11th grade English about F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“Fitzgerald put a lot of his own life into his stories and that inspired me to do the same,” he said. “I put aspects of me into [the main character].”
The main character’s father was always out being a super hero and a gang also killed his mother when he was young. Therefore, the main character was alone most of his life. By putting parts of his own personality into the story, Johnson found out truths about himself.
Johnson looked up publishing firms on the Internet in order to find somewhere to get his book published. He sent letters and manuscripts to the publishing houses he found and, after getting a few rejections, finally got Torres Publishing LLC to publish his novel. Torres Publishing was started in 2010 and is run by Rosaura Torres, a writer herself and CEO and managing partner Michael Tomas.
Johnson never considered going through a literary agent, as many writers do, because agents take a percentage of the profits from the novel. Torres Publishing is a very urban, small-town, company. “A Hero Reborn” is the second book that they have published.
Johnson said he plans to have a booth at the Philadelphia Book Festival, which runs from April 16-21 to market his novel. He also plans to do a few book signings at the comic shops in Philadelphia that will be selling his novel. Johnson is in the process of attempting to sell his novel on Temple’s Main Campus.
“A Hero Reborn” is up for pre-sale now on Torres Publishing’s website and will be available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and several comic book shops and bookstores. The release date is set for the end of this month.
Amanda Rossetti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.