ST. PETERSBURG – Davon Miller has loved to write for as long as he can remember. Now, in the sixth grade at Bay Point Middle School, Davon is riding high with the publishing of his first book, “Mr. Tickety-Toc Clock, Goodnight Mr. Clock,” a story about a clock that mistakenly sets his alarm to the wrong time and has to overcome some crazy antics in order to get back to sleep.
[level-active-subscribers]Both Davon’s mother and father recall his beginnings as an author. As early as kindergarten, Davon would take his favorite stories and rip out their pages before reassembling them into a new tale.
“When he first started doing that I used to say, ‘this doesn’t make any sense,’” Davon’s mom Sandra admitted. “The first book he did like that, was so long, I’m ashamed to say I threw it away.”
But as the years went on and Davon kept writing more and more, Sandra began to think there was a little more to his passion than she realized.
“He would put all of his time and energy into it,” Sandra recalled noting that he must have a creative streak. She began fostering his love for the written word and encouraged him to keep up with his stories and the cartoon drawings that oftentimes would accompany them.
But it wasn’t until just last year that fate walked in the door of his classroom at Bay Point Middle that Davon started to believe he could do more to further his dream. Armed as always with a journal of his work, he was inspired to come out of his shell and share when a substitute teacher, published author Linda Mobley, began discussing her own accomplishments that started with the pen.
Mobley hooked up the Miller’s with a local editor and in a few months were ready to publish. When Davon first brought his story to the editor he was told it was too long, contained too many characters, and would have to be cut down.
But Davon wasn’t interested in doing that, so instead he just wrote another story.
“It happened while I was staring at the clock in the class and then I thought, ‘Hmm, I could write a story about a cartoon and a clock’,” said Davon who estimates it didn’t take him long to compose his short story once he got started. He illustrated it himself and has already composed the next three books in the Tickety-Toc series.
His parents, Sandra and DeWitt Miller Jr., have always been proud of their son. Throughout school Davon has proven his devotion to his academia by alternating between honor roll and principal’s list each grading period. Although he doesn’t have a class dedicated to creative writing this year, Davon has had teachers throughout the years who’ve encouraged him to follow his natural talent and his dream of becoming an author.
But Davon’s dad believes his boy’s academic prowess and love of books all started before Davon could even walk and credits his wife for having the wherewithal to read to him while he was still in the womb.
“When my wife was carrying him, people thought she was nuts because she would actually sit and read to him while she was pregnant,” said DeWitt who acknowledges his son isn’t big on getting his hands dirty or in athletics right now. “I think his calling is to be an author, this is what he’s going to be doing.”
And as a preschool teacher, Sandra had the right idea. Every night before and after Davon was born, both she and her husband would hold story time, no matter how tired they were from their jobs. “We both agree that reading is very, very important,” Sandra said.
Today Davon loves to read on his own, although he doesn’t say no to the occasional offerings of story time from his mom, and dives into fantasy novels like New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer’s “The Land of Stories” series. When asked what motivates Davon to continue writing, he quite simply stated, “Me.”
“I kind of get encouraged by me because I love to write,” Davon said. “I think I got inspired writing because I have so many ideas in my head to write about.”
Davon, with the help of his family, hopes to prepare the second book in the series this summer and set up book signing opportunities around the city. The Miller’s have donated copies of “Mr. Tickety-Toc Clock” to his current school and his old stomping grounds at Bay Point Elementary where he was involved in a writing club and received help and encouragement from his fifth grade teacher Mr. Dodge. Plans are already underway for Davon to do readings at local afterschool programs and even his mom’s preschool.
So at 12 when most kids are still finding their niche in life, Davon can say he’s a published author with more to come; an accomplishment that many adults are still hoping to claim.
If you’d like a copy for a loved one or perhaps even yourself, log onto amazon.com and type in “Mr. Tickety-Toc Clock, Goodnight Mr. Clock.” Books are priced at $9.95.[/level-active-subscribers]