Children’s series author talks fictional world, publishing

Baylor alumnus Jonathan H. Reynolds presents his new children's book series, titled "The Octobers," to professor Robert Darden's Magazine and Feature Writing class on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, in Castellaw Communications Center.
Matt Hellman | Lariat Photo Editor

By Jade Mardirosian
Staff Writer

Halloween may be over until next year in real life, but in “The Octobers,” a new fictional children’s book series written by two Baylor graduates, it is never over.

The series, consists of four books, each told from a different character’s perspective and allows the story of the town of Hobble where October never ends. Instead, the day after Hallows Eve is always the first of the month again. The series follows a group of kids, the “underdogs” in the neighborhood, who must step up and defeat a darkness that hasn’t existed in the town since their grandfather’s generation.

One of the authors, Jonathan Reynolds said the idea for the books arrived 12 years ago, and drawing inspiration from his own childhood and his relationships with his maternal and paternal grandfathers.

“There is a grandfather character in these first books named Papi and he’s a conglomeration of my grandfathers,” Reynolds said. “One of my grandfathers was a World War II veteran, and spending time with my other grandfather who lived here in Waco have both been a huge influence on the generational aspect [of the book].”

Reynolds said he became interested in writing at the age of 10. He always kept journals throughout his teenage and early adult years in which he wrote ideas for stories and characters. While Reynolds was a student at Baylor he began writing camps with various Waco high school students, which is how he met Craig Cunningham, who coauthored the series.

After working for years to have the series published Reynolds decided to start his own publishing company, Moonsung Inc. and the book is now available online at and Barnes and Noble.

Reynolds was on campus talking Tuesday about his book and offering advice to students about writing books. Robert Darden, associate professor of journalism, taught Reynolds while he was at Baylor and described him as a determined writer who knew exactly what he wanted to do.

“He wanted to write. He wasn’t sure whether it was fiction or screenplay yet, but he was going to write,” Darden said. “He was like a sponge and exceeded class requirements on every assignment and was just hungry for input. I haven’t had many students that were that clear that soon and knew what they wanted to do.”

Reynolds said students interesting in writing and being published need several things: passion, vision, talent, discipline, perseverance, luck, consistency, and life experiences.

Reynolds, who also worked as a tour guide in places like Costa Rica, suggests students keep journals of all their thoughts and experiences.

“Possibly the most important quality I think a writer needs is to have life experiences,” Reynolds said. “You’ve got to pursue or accept experiences when they come to you. You can’t write interesting things unless you’ve lived or are living interesting things. Go travel the world, ride the rails, fall in love, [and] get your heart broken.”

Darden said he was ecstatic to see Reynolds’ book series published after all of his hard work.

“He writes beautifully,” Darden said. “I knew very early he was going to succeed. I’m surprised he hasn’t had more stuff [published] by now. He’s just so talented and passionate about it.”