Editor’s note: The Daily Reporter features our “Neighbors” regularly, whether it be someone with an interesting profession or hobby, or a nonprofit group making a difference in our community. Here, former Hancock County resident Kyle Willis shares about growing up in Hancock County and how he was influenced by local residents while recently publishing his first book. Willis lives in Columbus, but attended St. Michaels Catholic School and Greenfield-Central High School. He graduated from G-CHS in 2017 and holds degrees in business and communication with a minor in creative writing from Hanover College. He’s currently a sales associate for Fastenal Company. Willis’ book, “Jason Phoenix and the Demon Lamp,” is a young adult romance fantasy novel.
Daily Reporter: Tell us about your book “Jason Phoenix and the Demon Lamp.”
Kyle Willis: Jason Phoenix is like any normal teenager worrying about grades, pimples, and what he wants to do for the rest of his life. That is until he stumbles upon a lamp containing a demon and makes a deal with the seductive demon. Jason exchanges his soul and gains omnipotence. While Jason must learn to control his new abilities, he also must confront a menacing gang tormenting his hometown, Munsen, Illinois, and woo his life-long crush/best friend, Taylor Collins. In a thrilling tale Jason must save Taylor, his hometown, and his soul from certain doom.
DR: What’s your background in writing?
KW: While at Hanover College I was a member of the Kennings Literacy Magazine, the track team and the student broadcast association. I’ve had several short stories and poems published through Kennings Literacy Magazine, but “Jason Phoenix and the Demon Lamp” will be my first published novel.
I’m currently working on the sequel. The working title to the sequel is “Jason Phoenix and the Wrath of God.”
DR: How did people influence your writing?
KW: Writing this book is one of my proudest achievements and there’s such a long list of people that helped me do it. There is one person who is to thank above all. The girl who broke my heart. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have been able to write Jason Phoenix’s story. For her sake I will leave her identity anonymous.
There are many individuals I wanted to thank for helping me achieve this awesome goal, most of whom I included in the acknowledgements section in the book. But to my teachers at St. Michael’s, particularly Richard Duncan. They provided me the education and support to be in the position I am today. Also thanks to my first grade teacher at St. Michael’s, Mrs. Poorman. I had a reading disability which hindered my learning and she worked hard to help me and was a big part of where I am today. To my teachers at Greenfield-Central High School, specifically Jonathan Hudson, who challenged me academically and helped me grow as a person I’m eternally grateful.
DR: What are your future goals?
KW: My long term goal is to keep writing fiction novels and make that my full-time career. I plan to make this a trilogy, but who knows maybe there will be a fourth book in this series. I also have other fantastic novel ideas after I wrap up Jason Phoenix’s exciting story.
“Jason Phoenix and the Demon Lamp” can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and through Kindle. Signed copies can also be purchased through Kyle Willis’ website at kylescorner.godaddysites.com.