Edmund Kolbusz and Charles Hyatt have started practicing what they preach.
The two Lambert High School English teachers recently also became authors.
Before starting on his novel, “Blood Shinobi,” 12-grade English teacher Kolbusz said he hadn’t done much creative writing since he moved to Georgia from Canada, where he taught for 20 years.
“I had always been creative and I wasn’t creating and I just had this urge to write,” he said. “I just figured I’d do what I’m teaching my kids to do and see if I can do what I’m teaching them to do. And after I discovered that I could ... I realized I had something here and it just blew up.”
Five years went into writing his book, Kolbusz said. There was a lot of reading and research involved, as he learned the history of feudal Japan for his character Nakamura, a samurai warrior whose village was destroyed by the evil Oda Nobunaga.
In addition to learning about a new culture, Kolbusz took a few pages from his own lesson plan as a teacher.
“Half-way through I realized I had to do something that I teach my kids, and that is to make an outline. I didn’t know where I was going,” he said. “So by chapter eight, I finally realized I’ve got to make a plan ... it was smooth sailing after that.”
For Hyatt, the opportunity came during a chance meeting at Dragon Con. Artist Russell Sapp attended the annual convention in Atlanta and started talking about creating a comic book.
“I was always a fan of Copernicus, the scientist who had the courage to fight conventional wisdom to revolutionize astronomy and also always enjoyed the old Hollywood hard-boiled, film noir detectives,” Hyatt said. “And I thought, man, Nick Copernicus sounds like a great name for a Hollywood detective, so if I had him travel in time, he could have superpowers that tie in science with Hollywood crime fighting.”
Hyatt said the idea for “Nick Copernicus Private Eye to the Stars” actually spawned from some improv work he did in college. While there is some indirect references to astronomy, Hyatt said there are whimsical moments and plenty of puns.
“I’m thinking motion picture deal with a whole franchise, Saturday morning cereal ... but that’s a longshot,” Hyatt joked about the future of his comic. “But I like teaching and ... we’re happy already with what’s happened.”
Hyatt, who has a bachelor’s, two master’s degrees and a doctorate degree, teaches 11th grade Advanced Placement American literature.
While his students haven’t seen his book, he has pushed some of his students who don’t read recreationally, toward comics. His own daughter, he joked, is “mildly amused” by his work.
“It’s dad, so it’s not as impressive as somebody who’s not dad,” he said. “But I think secretly she kind of gets a chuckle out of these types of things.”
Kolbusz said his stepdaughters have been supportive of his work, and are even sharing his book with friends and contacts. He’s been doing the same with his students, including as an example that all the symbolism they talk about with famous novelists is intentional, and not just coincidence.
“Over the past five years as the book was developing, I’ve read to my kids and they genuinely liked it,” Kolbusz said. “My kids now are asking me, ‘Well, when are you going to read ‘Blood Shinobi’ to us?’”
Kolbusz is working on a second book, “Sin,” about the seven deadly sins over eras of time.
Hyatt also isn’t stopping at one comic book.
“I have some ideas for a sequel. I’m working on that in the back of my head right now,” he said. “I have some other ideas for other books, but I’m trying to come up with a second edition of this with some new spins on Nick and Galileo.”
“Blood Shinobi” is available for purchase on amazon.com and “Nick Copernicus, Private Eye to the Stars” is available at Kapow! Comics and Humpus Bumpus in Cumming.