Ana Meade says that her 11-year-old son Mark has always been creative. He would come home from fourth grade daily with a little book he’d written and illustrated, short stories and graphic novels. The Meade family, who live in McKinney, are often the first readers when Mark comes home with a brand new story.
“One story was ‘The Little Marshmallow,’ about John the Marshmallow. I named him after a friend,” Mark says. “He had time traveling abilities. All my characters were food, named after my friends.” Mark, himself, even had a cameo in his first novel series, as Mark the Hashed Brown.
This summer, in the midst of the quarantine, while many people found life slowing down, Mark achieved one of his dreams. Over the holidays, his father helped him self-publish a middle-grade fantasy novel on Amazon Kindle.
“The Dragon Tamer” features a young boy named Toren who dreams of adventure, dragons, and being a knight. When he finds the mysterious Dragon Gem, he embarks on a dangerous journey to save the future of his family, his village, maybe even all of humanity.
A couple of days before Christmas, he received the first hard copy of it. For this local 11-year-old, it was a dream come true.
Writing a book, Ana says, has been on her own “bucket list for years,” and fills her with pride that her son has done it. “I’m nowhere near starting, let alone publishing,” she says.
But Ana and her husband have always worked to support him in his dreams. Mark is always coming to dinner bursting with new ideas, and she and her husband were amazed by the sheer detail. Mark says that it’s all visual, like a movie in his head. Ana says the details are all there, waiting for Mark to put them down on paper.
“Mom helps me get ideas out,” Mark says. “My mom and dad say I have a lot of ideas and she helps get them out. She’s the one that edited my book.”
When he saw his book on Amazon, Mark was excited to tell his teachers in his Zoom classes. All of his teachers are very proud of him.
Mark first got the idea for “The Dragon Tamer” near the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. He started writing it over the summer.
“I like to imagine it as a movie when I’m writing it, thinking about it like a movie, how it would happen,” he says.
His mother describes working with Mark as an attempt to capture as much of his vision as possible. “He gave me so much detail I couldn’t keep up with it,” she says. “He has such a vivid scene in his head.”
Just the other day, Mark says that he had a new idea for how to start his next book. He intends to keep writing, encouraged by his family, and by the support of their friends. Ana says that even one of her friends told Mark that seeing him achieve his dream at such a young age had inspired her to pursue her creative passions again.
Mark loves hearing that his book has made a difference. “It makes me feel proud I can make something other people can enjoy,” he says.