Schools

Local teacher's stories evolve into book

 Devik Schreiner
Courtesy of Devik Schreiner
Devik Schreiner signs copies of “The Oregon Story,” his latest novel, at his book launch at Gardner Bullis School Dec. 1.

Gardner Bullis School teacher Devik Schreiner’s penchant for making up stories has led to a second career as an author.

Schreiner started telling stories to students in his social studies and language arts classes early in his career, prompted by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“When 9/11 happened, I was teaching sixth grade, like I am now. We had a few days where parents weren’t sure what was going on, they weren’t sending their kids to school, so I had four or five or six kids in class for a few days,” Schreiner said. “Doing social studies and language arts just wasn’t an option. They were distracted anyway. So I started telling them just off-the-cuff stories.”

Schreiner assumed his storytelling days were over when his classes filled up again, but his students wanted more. He received requests from them to continue the stories and even turn them into a book.

“I thought, ‘Wow, these kids are interested in something I’m writing,’” he said, “but even more importantly, they’re interested in reading something – which was unusual at the time. It was probably four or five years after the initial storytelling began that I said, ‘Well, if these kids are interested, then maybe I can write a book.’”

So in 2011, Robertson Publishing released Schreiner’s “Search a Darker Sky: A Cleft Mind,” his written version of a story he began telling years ago. It is the first book in what Schreiner plans to make a trilogy.

“To sum up, it’s a story about a boy looking for his father,” Schreiner said. “He finds some clues, and finally finds this journal. The journal tells this boy, Justin, everything that’s happened from the father’s perspective. It explains why he went missing and why he was gone while Justin and his sister were at school.”

Schreiner recently released the second book in the series, “The Oregon Story.” Published in October, it is a prequel that takes place 30 years before the initial story.

“The second book is actually the journal from the father’s perspective,” he said. “I’m writing the trilogy so that you can read each three individually or so that you can read them chronologically or in any order.”

Reading reunion

To celebrate the release of “The Oregon Story,” Schreiner held a book-launch party Dec. 1 at Gardner Bullis and invited his past sixth-grade students to attend.

“I thought it would be really neat to involve the kids who have been reading the book and who are interested,” he said. “I went on Facebook and I found a lot of my previous students. This is my 19th year, so the 11-year-olds I started with are turning 30, which makes me very old.”

Schreiner said he hopes to finish his third book in two years, then turn the trilogy into a screenplay.

“I do want to transition after retirement into writing full time, and I love the idea of writing screenplays,” he said. “At the end of my first book, it felt so much like a screenplay that I wrote it like one. I haven’t thought too much about the immediate future of my writing career, but I’m really enjoying it.”

To purchase “The Oregon Story” and for more information, visit rp-author.com/dschreiner.

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