By Jeanne Tucker and Tyler Schneider
It would take more than one article to tell the story of Tomie-Mickai Williams’ writing experiences. From a young age, he has done what many people dare to do in writing and self- publishing his own books.
Now a senior at Ruskin High School, Williams began excelling at reading and writing comprehension from a very young age.
“I was about ten or eleven years old when I first decided to write a book. I had loved reading for as long as I can remember. In fact, in my kindergarten year, I used to visit the third grade teacher to borrow books because I was above the level of a typical kindergartner,” Williams said.
Williams was simply always reading. In the fifth grade, he set his mind to creating a book of his own. Before long, he was finished with his first book: “Mighty Boy” — a story about a kid and his friends becoming superheroes so they could fight aliens.
So, was it nature or nurture that led to Williams’ current self-started success?
“With no contest, it was my parents. They have always been my biggest coaches. As soon as they learned I was interested in writing my own books, they encouraged me,” Williams said. “After I finished my first book; “Mighty Boy”, they were really convinced. They heavily encouraged me to get my book published.”
In order to begin his journey through the world of self-publishing, Williams did some research and eventually discovered Amazon’s massive self-published author market.
“Looking back, I think the reason I settled with self-publishing was simply because I didn’t know about the process of publishing involving an agent and an overarching publisher. I thought all authors were like this,” Williams said. “I initially stumbled on Lulu, a different self-publishing platform,” he explained, before he settled with Amazon.
Taking the first step was pivotal.
“The hardest challenge of writing my first book was certainly the writing itself. I didn’t yet have a complete understanding of how grammar and punctuation worked, but I used what I knew to create something I truly enjoyed,” Williams said.
Once “Mighty Boy” was finished and shelved, it was “easy” for Williams to go ahead and write his next book.
“Easy is an understatement; after the first book, I couldn’t stop. Sure, my parents encouraged me to continue, but the feeling of translating the crazy ideas and stories in my head to concrete form was more than enough intrinsic motivation for me to start on the next book right away,” Williams said.
Williams has had no trouble maintaining his passion.
“I still haven’t abandoned that mindset of being motivated to continue purely out of enjoying my own stories and the process. I imbue my own ideals into my stories — my favorite types of characters, my favorite action scenes — and want to give others the same sense of enjoyment. At the same time, I also just like writing,”
Since his “Mighty Boy”, Williams has penned his “Spirit Swords” series, which he describes as a “fantasy action-adventure series about magic sword fights and crazy action”.
“Out of everything I’ve written, I’m the most proud of “Spirit Swords”, with it being my longest story to date. It felt like it was my first serious story, and I believe I fully accomplished what I set out to do with it. I’ll never forget how it felt to finish the closing chapter on the series I spent three years of my life working on,” Williams said.
“The Illruso Heist” is his most recent story—“a standalone humorous superhero novella about a heist.”
“I wrote it as I took a break from the last book of Spirit Swords, and combined all the ideas and scenarios I enjoy writing — heists, superpowers, and humor — into a shorter story,” Williams said.
Currently, aside from his studies as a graduating senior, Williams is working on the second draft of his forthcoming novel. An old soul in many ways, he is waiting for the physical copy to come so he can edit the rest of it on paper. The goal is to publish it by the time he graduates, but only if it’s up to his standard by that time.
Williams hopes his impressive early entry into the publishing world can boost other teens who are looking to pursue their passions with the same bravado.
“How many future authors out there haven’t started due to self-doubt? Talent and skill isn’t about being born with it; it’s about practice and hard work, and enjoying the process. If they keep those in mind, any young writer can get their feet wet,” Williams said.
Williams lists his two favorite books as “Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson, and “Dune”, by Frank Herbert. Aside from reading and writing, he enjoys playing the piano, watching anime and reading manga, loves sandbox games, and is going to school to become a software developer.
If you want to hear more, follow Tomie on Twitter and Facebook at @AuthorTomieW.