Beacon College students who visit the Robert & Jane Weiner Writing Center for help wrangling the right words for a term paper know Jacob Pinkston as the center’s director.
However, he recently added a new title: author.
Late last month, Pinkston self-published his first children’s novel, The Ambassador: First Contact, a 105-pager for readers ages 11-14.
Set in the year 2042, The Ambassador: First Contact chronicles the adventures of seventh-grader Luke Sullivan and his rag-tag band of small-town friends who investigate the true intentions of extraterrestrial envoys from the planet Crymure who visit their middle school.
“The idea came from my own childhood and the dreams I had,” Pinkston said. “Growing up, I had always had this idea of experiencing things outside of my hometown, and I wanted to examine what happens when a kid gets to explore things outside of his own universe. There was a pleasant feeling of nostalgia throughout the writing process.”
A process that he began — and largely finished — last summer, but continued throughout the 2015-16 school year. Pinkston found his interest in staving off a war between Earthlings and the Crymurans invading his free moments at night or on weekends.
In recent weeks, he finalized the tale that teaches, “That people need to embrace those who are different,” he said. “The first tendency of many when encountering something new is fear or violence, but if we instead embrace new people and ideas with healthy curiosity, a lot of conflict can be avoided.”
The primary conflict Pinkston faced in writing the book involved “just acknowledging that it was done and that it was time to put it out for people to read.”
That time has come. The Ambassador: First Contact is available on Amazon.
While Pinkston the author hopes readers embrace the book’s moral, writing the book also yielded important lessons.
“The book taught me to never forget where I came from because it has inspired so much of who I am,” said Pinkston, whose travels have taken him from his Illinois home to Alaska to a Peace Corps stint in Ecuador.
“It also taught me how to create deadlines for myself and stick with projects. I had always had a million ideas going on at once that I would try to write about, but focusing on this one project for a year allowed me to produce something that I’m really proud of.”