• March 31, 2015

Iowa State Daily

ISU student creates book trilogy from dorm room

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Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 12:00 am

College students liberate themselves in variety of activities between classes and schoolwork, but for Christopher Jacobs, writing alleviates all his frustrations in a self-satisfying way.

Jacobs, senior in chemical engineering, wrote his first book, “Olympus Falling,” during his freshman year at Iowa State.

The book, based off of Greek mythology, follows Paian Kairis, a well-known Grecian scholar, and his quest to find his missing friends. Magic, mystery and adventure shake up Kairis’s hum-drum life as he uses time travel and quick wit to search for his friends during the Golden Age of Athens’ history.

“I spent a lot of time researching different aspects of Greek mythology,” Jacobs said. “When I was writing the book, I really didn’t want to break any of the existing myths.”

Jacobs used original Greek myths throughout his book in connection with the plot.

During eighth grade, Jacobs was assigned to write the first chapter of a book for his English class. Jacobs said he saw the potential for something great and continued to write the first eight chapters over the course of his first two years of high school until he hit a hard case of writer’s block.

“I couldn’t even think about writing the book because I just had no idea where to go with it," Jacobs said. "High school was just really overwhelming, and I just really needed to take a break.”

Jacobs shelved the book as an unfinished project until he came to Iowa State and met fellow Greek mythology enthusiast Kaitlin McAbee. McAbee, junior in software engineering, encouraged Jacobs to finish what he had started.

“[McAbee] was really intrigued with it, and I was really excited because this was the first time I’d really let anybody else read it,” Jacobs said.

During the month following, McAbee helped Jacobs brainstorm ideas and story lines to continue the book.

“Some of his ideas were a little out there, but we worked on where he wanted the book to go.” McAbee said.

When spring semester started, Jacobs set a goal to write 1,000 words per day.

“This was kind of my way to escape a little bit, a way to relax,” Jacobs said. “As a chemical engineer, I was trying to juggle my engineering classes with physics and organic chemistry. If this book was going to add a lot of extra strenuous work, I probably wouldn’t have done it.

“It was really cool watching it go from something I had in my head to writing it down on paper.”

Jacobs finished “Olympus Falling” at the end of his freshman year but continued to rewrite and work on different chapters during the summer.

Before he even officially finished the first book, Jacobs had written the entire second book, “The Battle for Egypt,” during the course of the winter break during his sophomore year.

“Over winter break, I averaged around 6,000 to 7,000 words a day — I just sat down, and I wrote," Jacobs said. I had no writer's block, and it just streamed out; I don’t know where it came from.”

With the first book, “Olympus Falling,” published and available on Amazon, the second book, “The Battle for Egypt,” being edited, and beginning the writing process for the third book, Jacobs tries to balance his life as a student and as an author.

“I don’t want to let other areas of my life falter and fall to the wayside, but I’m still keeping [the third book] in my mind, and I still come back to it a couple times a week,” Jacobs said.

Writing the third book, “Legends Collide,” from his Friley dorm room has created a buzz among student residents and friends.

McAbee suggested that those who love the “Percy Jackson” series by Rick Riordan should consider reading Jacobs’s book trilogy.

“It’s just something I’ve become really proud of through seeing how much other people enjoy it," Jacobs said. "It’s really rewarding to see something I’ve worked on for such a long time in the hands of other people reading it and enjoying it."

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