Dewayne Haslett first began writing stories when he was 12 years old.
Fast forward a few years, and in early September, the Proviso East High School senior released his second novel, "Untouchable." It is the sequel to his first book, "Invincible," which follows the story of a teen with amnesia in Detroit who discovers that he has superpowers.
Dewayne said that his first interest was filmmaking, and he began making videos when he was 5 years old. He then began writing stories as he was inspired by life, movies, television, and music, producing two books that were also self-published.
It was after watching the Superman movies and "The Bourne Identity," which told the story of a man with amnesia who discovers that he is a government assassin, that he was inspired to write his own book.
"I was wondering what I can do if I used the angle of amnesia as a way of emphasizing the struggles of growing up as a teenager," Dewayne said.
The end result after two years of writing was "Invincible." He opted to self-publish, signing with Lulu, a self-publishing company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. In order to raise the money to self-publish the book, he sold candy. The book was a success, ending up on Amazon.com’s best seller list. He also was interviewed by local media including the Chicago Sun-Times
, and he has been invited to book conferences.
With the success of the first book, he decided to continue the story of Troy, the main character, in "Untouchable." He said that he has been amazed how the writing process has gone, and the reception that he has received for his writing.
"I can’t tell you guys how surreal this experience has been writing these books," Dewayne wrote in his blog. "Last year, I was holding the first book in my hands and now I have the second book in my hands waiting to see how the readers react to it, I’m the happiest guy in the world, witnessing my dreams coming true."
Dewayne said that after graduation in the spring, he wants to pursue a degree in creative writing at either Northwestern University or the University of Massachusetts.
Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that he was proud of Dewayne for pursuing his dream of being a writer.
"Communicating your thoughts and putting them down on paper is a skill that is much in demand," Mr. Valente said. "I am proud of Dewayne for putting in the work to write two books in the last year, and I am sure that we will be hearing more about his writing in the future."