DEEP THOUGHTS: Stratford junior Deep Patel’s journey to becoming a published author

Deep Book
Stratford junior Deep Patel, an assistant editor of The Gazebo, is now a published author with two forthcoming books. (Photo by KENZIE MUENZER, Gazebo Staff)

Smelling the scent of freshly printed pages and stepping through the maze of aisles holding thousands of books — that’s what made me enjoy trips to the bookstore as a kid.

However, I had never imagined I would one day have the opportunity to walk into a large bookstore and see my book placed next to dozens of accomplished authors. It is still difficult to believe. Admittingly, I have a mix of good and bad elements to thank for making this opportunity come to life.

At the beginning of my sophomore year, I was placed into an elective I didn’t sign up for, which was Creative Writing taught by Dr. Frank Katz. That, coupled with my sophomore English class with Mrs. Mary Beth Gumbart, spurred a level of writing for which I never realized I had the potential. I also missed a sizable number of school days during my sophomore year due to an illness. This restricted me from playing baseball, so I decided to pick up on a new hobby.

“The Gray Veil” was a project that began as a creative writing assignment and eventually grew into something much larger. Its inception was as a crime-centered short story. That same week, I happened to read an article on The Guardian website about a daughter of a mafia boss. The story dealt with the question of who would take over the operation after the boss—who had a brain condition—died. After reading it, I thought: “Can a violent criminal change his perspective on life if he got a disease — such as Alzheimer’s?”

So I decided to base my short story off of that. I never ended up turning in that story because, after I came up with the idea, I missed nearly two more weeks of school due to my illness. However, while I was in the hospital, I continued to write. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my working manuscript, but I just thought the concept of the story was cool. So I kept going.

After I was stuck in a plateau with the mafia book, I decided to put it aside and start on a new project, which is scheduled to be published in June 2016, before the release of “The Gray Veil.”

The inspiration for my new book came from my father, who at my age, was a paperboy who lived in Boston and made less than minimum wage. He eventually used the money he earned to own a dry cleaner with my uncle and grandfather, and then a hotel. When he told me about his experiences, I realized it was the story that I was looking for — a story that is both inspirational and informative. I knew then that a book that uses a fictional paperboy as its central theme in order to illustrate business points would be really cool and groundbreaking.

After beginning on it the second semester of my sophomore year, I finished my the first draft in June 2015.

I posted a book listing about “A Paperboy’s Fable”  and background on Publishers Weekly. Their database also gave me access to hundreds of literary agents’ information. I queried to nearly 100 agents, and heard back from four who were willing to offer representation, which was astonishing.

In addition, I heard back from an editor who is the former directorial editor at John Wiley & Sons. She said a publishing company named Post Hill Press, based in New York, was interested in publishing “A Paperboy’s Fable.” We arranged for a call and later sealed the deal. However, there was one contingency. The book was fairly short (100 pages), which isn’t the traditional length that publishing houses agree to publish in paperback. So, my publisher and I decided I would interview people with a background in business and entrepreneurship to provide a better insight for readers and help illustrate the book’s core principals.

It turned out many more people than I anticipated were willing to do an interview. I was intimidated during my first interview with Gina Smith, the co-founder of CNET and co-author of Steve Wozniak’s book, “IWoz.” However, by the fourth time around, the interviews became pretty conversational. I am glad I had this opportunity. Speaking to former CIA Director General David Petraeus was something I’d never planned on doing. Nor did I ever dream the co-founder of Vine would ask for my insight on a feature of the app.

While interviewing those professionals, the thought that I would be the one getting interviewed soon never ran across my thoughts. I am lucky to have been interviewed twice by a journalist from the Huffington Post. 

Meet Deep Patel: 17-year-old Wunderkind (Huffington Post 1-16-16)

Author Deep Patel Discusses Publishing a Book at Age 17 (Huffington Post 2-3-16)

This is a story from Forbes magazine.

Why I decided to write a book at age 16. Forbes magazine Feb 9, 2016

The process of writing “A Paperboy’s Fable”  has taught me many invaluable life lessons.

After finishing and polishing my final draft , I picked back up with my mafia story and recently just completed a rough draft of the book. The next step is to polish it before sending it off to my publisher. Who knew that an unfortunate illness could lead to such a journey of opportunities?