In 2010, Joel Michael Harshman decided he wanted to be a writer. In 2015, he published his first book, and at age 14, he became a published child author. This photo was taken around the time he announced his intention.
Child author got his start in homeschool
We homeschool, which means he has opportunities that other children don’t. In addition to his mother/teacher being a writer/editor, it has given him plenty of time to write. He could even write his short stories and books for his school assignments. Not many people get to pick their school work or homework. Not many kids have several hours a day available to them for creating, either.
You might think that it’s only natural that the children of a writer/editor would become writers, but I was careful not to expect that (or even to think about it). When Joel Michael announced that he wanted to be a writer, his father and I just said something that was not emotionally charged, like, “Hmm, well, you can do that if you want to.” He asked me if I’d edit his books to help him find the typos, and I said of course I would. Then he said he was “going to start right now” and off he went.
Child author is a big reader
Reading is important for everyone, but it’s paramount for writers. Many famous authors tell beginning writers to read—a lot.
Joel Michael was a voracious reader from the time he was four years old. He won all of the “number of words read” and “number of books read” contests held at his school (prior to homeschooling) and church, setting records that are still unbroken ten years later. He read an average of eight times as many books as the children who took second place. All that reading is beneficial beyond the enjoyment and enrichment: It has helped him learn how to write a good story.
Minecraft books for kids by kids
Kids love it when a book is written for them by someone like them: another kid. Joel Michael Harshman is a child author who writes books designed for kids. His first book is set in a game and conforms to the rules of that game’s universe. DiamondMoon: A MINECRAFT World is available on Amazon. Click the link or the book’s image to get your copy now.
Update: Joel Michael wrote a follow-up book, DiamondMoon: Into the Nether in 2017. He also grew up a bit. I’m not sure when that happened.