“If I offered you millions of dollars to go to space, would you?” asked Scott Reintgen, author, during his visit to Leesville on Tuesday morning, March 6.
Immediately, a resounding ‘yes’ echoed from the students, followed by a few collective ‘no’s’. Reintgen continued, “Emmett Atwater says yes.” Emmett is the main character of his Young Adult Science Fiction novel, Nyxia; the first in a trilogy about a competition between teens, all while living on a space shuttle.
Scott Reintgen (pronounced ‘Rankin’) is a former Wake County student and Durham school teacher; he visited Leesville on the morning of March 6 to talk about Nyxia as well as encouraging students to pursue their passions.
He started with a quick overview of the plot of Nyxia; a novel about Emmett, a teen from Detroit, traveling through space with nine other teenagers, all battling for the right to travel down to Eden. Everything they do is a competition, and “Emmett will do anything to win.” Along the way, the teens encounter a substance called Nyxia, a sentient element that the kids can manipulate but has an agenda of its own. This mysterious substance pushes back against the human users, testing them and their strength.
After talking about his novel, Reintgen emphasized the importance of passion. He began with a story about his child, Henry, who is six months old. Before Henry was born, a friend asked Reintgen, “if you could give anything to Henry, what would it be?” His response: passion.
Passion, Reintgen believes, is important to everything you do. But, “passion is not the slam-dunk moment, passion is the work that leads up to the slam-dunk moment.” Passion is the rejection letters, the time spent dedicated to character development, the thousands and thousands of words written trying to find the right ones.
During his discussion of passion, Reintgen mentioned his beginnings as an author. “The first moment [I knew I wanted to be an author] was fourth grade. We got to publish books…we wrote a story, and they printed it for us and bound it. I got to hold a tiny book with my name on it. And again, as a junior, I had an English teacher that switched me into creative writing…who made a big impact on me as well,” said Reintgen.
He also mentioned the same teacher in his presentation, explaining how passion is accepting challenges, similar to the way he accepted the challenge of creative writing class.
To end his presentation, Reintgen encouraged Leesville students to join the Nyxia Unleashed competition. This pre-order contest is open to Wake County students, and one winner will be included as a character in the third book in the Nyxia Triad series. For more information about the contest, see Ms. Dragone in the library or talk to your English teacher.