Local publisher debuts kid-written, illustrated book

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published August 22, 2012

 William Lee’s debut novel, “The Warrior and the Golden Dragon and Other Stories,” is available through Amazon.

William Lee’s debut novel, “The Warrior and the Golden Dragon and Other Stories,” is available through Amazon.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Unlike most authors, Troy resident William Lee is shy when you ask him about his latest book.

But, he’s only 11 years old.

The book, “The Warrior and the Golden Dragon and Other Stories,” published by Clawson-based publisher Nordberg Press, is available on Amazon.com. It’s a collection of 10 short stories, which Lee also illustrated.

The stories, William said, “just come to him.”

His teachers at Brookfield Academy told his parents, Sonia and Michael, that William, a voracious reader, was reading at an eighth-grade level when he was in the third grade.

A friend of Sonia’s saw William writing page after page during a break at a Math Olympiad competition and thought of Rod Moon, founder of Nordberg Press.

Moon, a Clawson resident, teaches home-schooled students and tutors children in a number of subjects. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Syracuse University, served as an aviator in the Vietnam War and worked in the automotive field for more than 30 years. He started Nordberg Press about two years ago as a way to publish his own work. William is the first author besides Moon the company has published, though Moon said he is currently working to develop projects with a number of authors.

“He’s one of the most amazing kids I’ve ever met,” Moon said of William. “He’s amazingly reflective. He thinks deeply about things.”

“Kids, in general, like to write stories (that are) like skeletons with no meat on them,” Moon said. When Moon started asking William for a bit more detail, William provided it easily.

“I thought, now I’ve really got something,” Moon said. The stories feature magical creatures, wizards, time travelers, robots and kids. William said the first story in the collection, “The Warrior and the Golden Dragon,” is his favorite. It tells the story of the Golden Dragon, which wanted to rule the entire world, and the Chinese warrior that wants to rescue the emperor’s daughter, who the dragon has kidnapped.

Moon said that he will meet with representatives from Barnes & Noble bookstores next month to discuss distribution of “The Warrior and the Golden Dragon and Other Stories” in stores.

William dedicated the book to his grandfather, Kevin Min Keun Lee, who, like William, was born in the Chinese year of the golden dragon, which only occurs every 60 years.

William is working on a second novel, “Oscar the Flea,” a story about a flea who is tired of being stepped on and metamorphoses into a person, only to discover that he was better off being himself. He said his goal is to write one book a year.

William hit a hole in one at Oakland Hills Country Club during the Ryder Cup Challenge when he was 3, and he has played cello since he was 3, recently taking took first place in the cello competition sponsored by the American Guild of Music at the Detroit Marriott, Troy.

Sonia attended the Julliard School and plays the violin professionally. She’s played with the Toronto, Detroit and Warren symphony orchestras, and has toured with Billy Joel, Celine Dion and Luciano Pavarotti. She said she turned down a job playing violin at the White House because the family loves living in Troy. Daughter Trinity is an accomplished figure skater.

“We want our kids to pursue what they are passionate about,” Sonia said.

For information about William and Nordberg Press, visit www. williamdrakelee.com and www. nordbergpress.net.