Steven Szmyt’s path to authorship was as unconventional as his first book – a werewolf fantasy novel for adults.
“I just had … one of those kind of nightmare dreams – real short, like 20 seconds long, but it was enough to prompt me to get out of bed at 3 o’clock in the morning and go down and start typing away on the computer,” said Szmyt. “After having the dream, [the book] literally just started writing itself. Like I was just along for the ride. The ideas were coming to my head, and I was typing as fast as I could just to get them down on paper.”
Szmyt’s dream inspired him to write “The Kingdom,” published last month by Mill City Press.
The book is a modern tale set in New England about a group of werewolves, also known as lycans, that have secretly been living alongside humans for centuries, and a college student who gets caught in the middle of a battle to defend their way of life. Szmyt actually prefers the word lycan to werewolf and uses that term in his book.
Szmyt, a logistics specialist at Lonza Biologics and a resident of Portsmouth for more than 20 years, never expected to write a novel.
“It’s always been one of those things in the back of my mind as a bucket list-type of thing,” said Szmyt. “You know, run a marathon, write a book, but you never think you’re going to do it. And like I said, it just happened one day. … So I ran with it.”
According to Szmyt, “The Kingdom” is unlike other books about werewolves.
“I’ve had a lot of different age groups read it,” said Szmyt, who is 46. “Everybody that I’ve spoken to so far that has read it has not been able to put it down because they just want to see where it goes. It appeals to a wide audience. So don’t think it’s just a kids’ werewolf story. It’s a great story intertwined with werewolves.”
Szmyt finished the book within about six months, but it took much longer to find a publisher. He advises beginning writers that perseverance can pay off.
“I had a very difficult time getting this published and getting into the book world, and I just stuck with it, and stuck with it, and kept trying to find people that could help me and point me in the right direction, and eventually I did, and it worked out for me,” said Szmyt. “So if it’s something you’re passionate about, and you do enjoy it, definitely stay with it and surround yourself with the right people to help you get your goals.”
Szmyt lives with his wife and two daughters. He has a passion for rescuing Doberman Pinschers and is an avid cyclist. He is currently working on a sequel to “The Kingdom.”
“The Kingdom” is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and RiverRun Bookstore. For more information, visit stevenszmyt.com.