Let’s say right off the bat that Michael Mboudjeka, a 14-year old freshman at Escondido Charter High School, is an impressive young man. He’s obviously very intelligent and very personable, and he has done something that few boys his age have ever done, or will ever do: written and published a book.
Michael’s first book, “The Autumn Things Went Crazy” is a fiction intended for young people his own age. As Michael relates it, “I tend to read a lot. I read ten books or so every two weeks. My dad suggested that I write my own book instead of reading everyone else’s and so I did.”
The novel tells the story of a shy Christian boy, Rico, aged 14, who has lost both of his parents in a thunderstorm, and his best friend, Sidney. Unbeknownst to Rico, Sidney is a ghoul who eats the souls of unforgivable sinners!
Sidney teases and urges Rico to try to take a girl at his school as a girlfriend, although Rico doesn’t believe the time is right for him to have a girlfriend, and finds himself resisting the “peer pressure,” that happens to many other kids his own age.
Michael wrote the book on weekends when he was a student at Heritage Digital Academy. According to his father, he didn’t miss any homework and worked five hours a weekend for about six months to produce the final manuscript, a schedule that many adult fiction writers would find enviable.
He didn’t show his manuscript to any of his fellow students because he’s a “shy boy,” according to his father. He did show it to a teacher, who urged him to publish it on Amazon.
Michael’s family is from Cameroon in Central Africa who came to the U.S. in 2000. Michael was born in the United States. His father was a research scientist working on a vaccine for HIV, but now he is staying at home taking care of his wife, who is recovering from a stroke.
His brother, Jeff, who is attending Vassar College in New York, designed the front cover.
The book went up on Amazon about a month ago and already has sold a few copies. So far the author hasn’t done any book signings or been asked to make any appearances. He’s hoping that maybe this article will help change that.
He’s working on another book. This time it’s a collection of short stories. He writes short stories about “pretty much anything that pops into my head,” he said.
The young author hasn’t decided yet what to do with any of the money that he realizes from the sales of the book, although his dad gently suggested that it might be good for college.
“I don’t really see myself as an author just, yet,” said Michael. He’s started to think about attending college, but he hasn’t settled on one yet — nor is he sure what area of studies he might choose.
His father would love to see him become an engineer or medical doctor. “I’m sure he can become an engineer because he is very good in math and science,” he said, adding, “He’s very, very bright. He can read a hardback book in just a few hours.”
Michael insists that he hasn’t made up his mind. “I will see wherever life takes me,” he said.
All of his children appear to be bright. All of them attended Escondido Charter School, and the oldest son is now attending Stanford University.
Their mother used to take all of them to the library regularly, where all of them acquired the habit of reading. They are all very avid readers.
The 145-page book, ISBN-13:978- 1536844894 is available as a soft-covered book for $9.99 or ebook for $2.99, both formats from Amazon.com.
If you want to reach Michael about his book, email him at Mboudjek@yahoo.fr.