For Eagle Scout Sean Fay Wolfe, Minecraft is more than just a game.
It has formed the building blocks of a budding writing career, including netting Sean a massive deal with a major book publisher.
His first Minecraft-inspired book, The Elementia Chronicles, Book One: Quest for Justice, releases on Tuesday wherever books are sold.
Quest for Justice is the first of a trilogy of unofficial Minecraft books Sean sold to HarperCollins Children’s Books in March. That meant a nice payday for Sean and a significantly wider audience for his work. It will be eventually be released in 12 different languages.
And to think that a couple of years ago Sean almost forgot he had started writing Quest for Justice when he found the partially finished book on his hard drive.
I reached out to Sean and his mom, Kelli, to learn more about Sean’s story. He talks about his meteoric rise, the reaction to his book so far and how a story on the Boys’ Life website helped him achieve international recognition.
Sean had written about a third of Quest for Justice when he took a break and basically forgot about the unfinished manuscript.
“One day, I was cleaning out the hard drive of my computer, and I found it again,” Sean says. “I showed it to my mother and my then-10-year-old brother, and they both really enjoyed it. Their reactions, especially that of my brother, told me that this might be a book that other people would enjoy, so I continued to work on it.”
Sean said his mom and brother — neither of whom are big Minecraft fans — offered vital encouragement.
Their enjoyment of the book “told me that not only did the book have an audience, but people who didn’t play the game could still enjoy the book,” Sean says.
At age 16, Sean finished Quest for Justice and self-published it on Amazon in January 2014.
Sean was proud of his book, but he never expected the kind of reaction it got.
The Amazon reviews — always an important litmus test for authors — were glowing:
The author is young like me and, unlike most other Minecraft authors, really gets Minecraft.
This book was read many times by my 9-year-old son and my 12-year-old daughter. They absolutely loved it! It came to my son when he was at a point where he did not really enjoy reading independently.
I bought this book for my 9-year-old grandson. Once he started it, he would not put it down until we took it away so he would go to sleep. He finished the book in 24 hours, turned back to the beginning and re-read it.
Sean visited schools, libraries and bookstores to promote Quest for Justice.
“He spoke about the writing process, encouraging kids to read and write,” says Sean’s mom, Kelli. “He used his novel as a launch pad for discussion.”
A Boys’ Life boost
But perhaps Sean’s biggest break, his mom says, came when BoysLife.org posted an article about Sean and his book.
The article helped Quest for Justice reach a new high on Amazon’s sales charts, Kelli says.
The BL piece was followed by an article in Publishers Weekly, which “got Sean noticed by publishers and agents.” Sure enough, Sean hired an agent and signed with HarperCollins soon after.
To hear the publisher tell it, they’re getting Sean on their team at the start of what promises to be an impressive career.
“Sean is a writer to watch, and his talent for storytelling captivated us,” says HarperCollins Senior Editor Pamela Bobowicz. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with such an exciting young voice on this epic, engaging new series.”
Quest for Justice comes out Tuesday, and Books 2 and 3 in Sean’s series release Oct. 27, 2015, and Jan. 26, 2016.
More about Sean
When he’s not writing stories based in the world of Minecraft, his favorite videogame, Sean attends school in Rhode Island, is a member of his school’s drama club, is an all-state musician and is a second-degree black belt in karate.
And, of course, he’s an Eagle Scout. He has attended the Florida Sea Base and Philmont Scout Ranch, and he earned the Den Chief Service Award and two religious emblems.
Kelli says she’s proud of her son’s Minecraft books because they promote literacy in a hard-to-reach group.
“His book is motivating a gaming crowd to read,” she says. “That is no easy task.”