Thanks to dream, Kingsland teacher writes 'Chasing a Dream'
Tuesday, December 04, 2012 3:38 AM
CJ Boerger, who has been teaching math with the Kingsland School District for 14 years, has written his first novel - a goal he has often thought about for years - with the help of a dream.
Kingsland math teacher CJ Boerger has written his first novel, entitled “Chasing a Dream,” which centers around a baseball player and includes references to Spring Valley.
"I always thought it was something I wanted to do but I never had a good idea," he noted. Then one night while he slept, he had a dream about the general plot of his book, "Chasing a Dream," and came up with the idea to center his book around a baseball player.
"I felt that writing a book was something I could do. I've always read a lot of books; that is something I enjoy in my free time," he added. In high school he was the editor of the school newsletter and during his years at Luther College, where he studied to become a math teacher, he took several English classes.
"Being a sports writer was my dream job when I was younger," he added.
Boerger says the work of fiction is about the main character who is a baseball player from Spring Valley, and has a career in the minor leagues, but is looking for more out of his career.
"He is getting up there in age to make it to the majors and he comes from a troubled past," he noted. "He feels he needs to reach the goal of making it to the majors but he is at a point of wanting to settle down too. Through his journey he realizes he doesn't need to keep going. He can be satisfied where he is at."
Boerger said it would be good for people who are recently out of college or college age to read the book or people that are at a transition in life, trying to decide if they want to do something different in life. "It's for people trying to decide on their future and what they really want out of life," he noted, and, of course, people that enjoy baseball.
The author said he chose the theme of baseball because he has always been a fan. The Alaska native played baseball when was a youth and in high school. He has also coached the seventh and eighth grade baseball team at Kingsland.
He began writing the book in September 2011, but due to his schedule during the school year, he wasn't able to finish it until early this fall, working on it a lot over the summer. It was published in September.
"I never thought anyone would read it. I basically wrote it for myself," he said, adding that after much encouragement from others, he decided to pursue publishing it.
His wife, and his mother, who is an English teacher, and father were the first to read his work, with his mother even helping to edit it. His coworker, Stephanie Derby, also gave him advice.
When he decided to publish, he looked around a little bit and found it was easier than he thought with the help of a publishing website. He decided to put it on Amazon.com as an ebook and offer it on the site for sale in paperback.
What Boerger really wants to share with those aspiring to write their own works is that "anyone can do this - write a book and publish it."
"It is not as hard as one thinks and it feels nice to get something accomplished and done like that," he added.
The paperback books, he noted are printed on demand, adding that around 100 of them have been printed so far, gauging from sales.
Boerger said word of his book traveled fast at Kingsland, with many staff members curious about it and wanting to read the book. "It spread throughout the school. Lunch was like a book study group sometimes with questions being asked about the book," he noted, smiling.
Readers of the book can look for the references to Spring Valley. Half of the book is based in Minnesota and the other half is when the main character is on the road.
"A big part of it in Spring Valley involves the school," he said, noting that in the book it is called Spring Valley High School. He wrote these scenes envisioning areas of the school he knows so well. Boerger added there is a small part in the book that references downtown Spring Valley. Also, references are made to Rochester and Stewartville, where the author currently resides with his wife, Carrie, and son Charlie, 4, and daughter Chloe, 1.
In fact, the main character in the book is named after his son, which he noted is something special for him and his son to share. He added that a few of his characters are loosely based off of real people. Boerger said that with 90 percent of the names in the book he has used either first or last names from former students or people in the community of Spring Valley.
Boerger concluded that if he does decide to write another book, he hopes to work on a novel for young adults, one that is geared toward his seventh, eighth and ninth grade students - something they would enjoy reading.
Those wishing to purchase the book can go to Amazon or Barnes & Nobel online and search for the author's name or book. It is available as an ebook or in paperback.
For those interested, there will be a book signing and author meet and greet for Boerger on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Spring Valley Public Library.