Josiah Ahktab Scratches the Surface With his First Novel, What’s New, and What’s Next
By: Brielle Sparacino
Unbeknownst to many, J.K. Rowling, author of the infamous “Harry Potter” series, published the book that would turn into a worldwide phenomenon at the age of 31. Rick Riordan, creator of “Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief,” didn’t get the first book of his series published until he was 41 years old.
Luckily, Josiah Ahktab, who is currently a senior at The College of Staten Island, is on the fast track to a bright future in publishing; at the age of 22, Ahktab has already published his first book, “Confession.”
“My book revolves around a character who is searching for his sense of self, who he truly is. The setting is in the woods, in nature. He searches the land for clues or anything that possibly relates to his past; he meets some people who at some point agree to help him out and so the journey begins there,” said Ahktab.
The idea for “Confession” first came to fruition during the summer of Ahktab’s sophomore year. After writing nothing but academic papers for most of his college career, he toyed with the idea of writing his first novel for a few weeks into the summer and had officially made up his mind to put pen to paper by that August. He had never planned on writing or actually publishing a story by the time he turned a certain age.
“…I just figured it was about time I go out there and do something instead of just living in my head all the time,” said Ahktab.
Ahktab had originally written “Confession” keeping the action/adventure genres in mind, but there are elements of sci-fi thrown in as well which, unfortunately, he didn’t have too much control over. Although his publishing company was calling some of the shots, he still did his best to remain true to himself.
Television shows “Supernatural” and “Dragon Ball Z” were prominent influences while writing the novel, so including characters with superhuman abilities was pretty much a given.
Human influences, however, consist of J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan. Both are successful Young Adult Fiction writers, but Josiah was truly inspired by Riordan’s ability to write a great story while Rowling served as an inspiration through the way she carries herself. Rowling made Ahktab realize that “writing isn’t for me, it’s for the people all around the world.”
Becoming a published author at 22 years old isn’t as uncommon in this day and age, what with young poets and prose writers constantly on the rise, but Ahktab brings something to the table that many novelists don’t, despite their age; Ahktab doesn’t confine himself to one genre or style of writing, nor does he feel he has to.
According to the CSI senior, he doesn’t get writer’s block, or at least he hasn’t yet. He’s always coming up with new ideas, but his preferred genre of writing is fiction above all else.
Speaking of new ideas, Ahktab already has some new projects in the works. The first he speaks about is “The Jake Matthews Saga: Tales of Figueroa,” which is already completed, but doesn’t divulge any actual details; he’s waiting to see how well “Confession” sells before he sets his next release in motion.
“I just gotta see how this novel does first, don’t wanna move too fast and rush things.” The second project is “The Adventures of Fleeting Grace,” which he’s still working on. This story fits more easily into the action/adventure genres than his first does, and he also plans on his next works being longer in length than his first.
As happy as Josiah is about having his first novel officially out, the road to achieving his goal was somewhat of a headache. While the story itself was easy to write, dealing with the payments was the biggest pain.
“I’ve never had to contact someone and make sure they took my money, the company usually does the calling and harassing. There was a little hassle about price, but that got solved quickly.”
Ahktab is adamant on letting aspiring writers looking to become published know to read contracts thoroughly and pay close attention to pricing. “…full payment, full service! Don’t do a payment plan unless you ABSOLUTELY must; if you can pay it in full, do it! Trust me, you have enough to pay on a daily basis, don’t add any more expenses.”
The money issues did nothing to take away from Josiah’s passion for writing and getting his work out into the world.
“…I want people to understand that writing is bigger than just you, it’s about everybody, all over the world and hopefully, I can write novels that’ll reach those people and show them through the lens of imagination that life’s what you make it and the world is not so bad.”