Dalton Middle is now home to an award-winning author.
Dismal Key, the novel written by Mitch Doxsee, a seventh-grade literacy teacher at DMS, recently won the 2013 Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA) President’s Award. The book is also in the process of being published.
Mr. Doxsee, 40, started his teaching career in 2001 at the Center for Creative Arts in Chattanooga. There, he taught AP English, Journalism, and Creative Writing.
In 2005, he made the transfer to Dalton Middle.
Mr. Doxsee began writing Dismal Key three years ago when his homeland of Florida began tugging at him.
“The first reason I wrote that book is that I’m from Florida, and I grew up around the Ten Thousands Islands,” Mr. Doxsee said. “I just started writing the book, and it grew from that.”
Mr. Doxsee said he really wanted to capture the natural beauty of the area.
“It started from glimpses and visions in my head, and it wrote itself from there,” Mr. Doxsee said.
The book is set in the Ten Thousands Islands in Florida and focuses on human trafficking in the islands.
“I worked in Amsterdam,” Mr. Doxsee said, “which is known for its prostitution, and you see all these women get stuck in the Red Light District. What if these girls that disappear are being trafficked?”
Mr. Doxsee said writing the book itself has not been the hardest part of the process—the hardest is getting the book published.
“Thirty-five percent of writing is the actual writing. The other is trying to get it published. It’s a hard process. You have to find someone who’s interested in the book, and you have to try to get people to read the book.”
In March, Mr. Doxsee made his novel into an eBook and put it on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
In June, Mr. Doxsee entered Dismal Key into the eBook category for FAPA. On Sept. 14, he found out that he had won gold for his work.
Mr. Doxsee then attended a banquet in Daytona, Fl., where the awards were presented. At the banquet, a publisher also approached Mr. Doxsee.
Mr. Doxsee signed a contract with Southern Yellow Pine Publishing, and the company is in the process of publishing Dismal Key.
The novel has been taken down from the two sites as of now, but will be available once the book is published.
Mr. Doxsee is writing the follow-up to Dismal Key, and he says he sees the book ending there.
“I write in any spare moment,” he said. “Whether I pour out 1,000 words or 500.”
He also said he sees other novels in his future, but wants to stay with the Dismal Key route while there is promise and interest in the content.
“It’s such a thrill knowing your book will be in print,” Mr. Doxsee said. “It will be properly edited and published. It’s wonderful.”