Ian Walsh


Ian Walsh, 15, with his book, Stragglers.

Michael Rhee, Staff Writer

    Once again, Monte Vista has shown itself to be a place of accomplishments in the arts.

    Many people have the misconception of authors being stuffy, old people, clacking away at a typewriter in a dark room behind closed curtains. So many would be surprised that we have a burgeoning young author here at Monte Vista itself!

    Meet Ian Walsh: tall, blond sophomore with a powerful personality. Born in Houston, Texas, he moved to Danville a year later birth.

   An avid member of both the Drama class and Marching Band, he has shown great passion for both dramatic and musical arts. However, at age 14, in 8th grade, he began to write a book.

    “[The book was] a project for a program called NaNo WriMo which allows young writers to publish books for free,” Walsh said.

   And so, Stragglers – a fictional zombie-apocalypse book set in North America – was born.

     “At first, I was just like, hey, I wanna write something that’s post-apocalyptic [and] realistic, that could actually happen,” Walsh said. “I wrote about a real fungus that does exist, and that could mutate to inhabit human minds,” he said.

    The aforementioned fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, is also referred to as the “zombie fungus,” and parasitizes a species of ants (his eyes lit while explaining this). Afflicted ants will split off from the main colony to find a large vein on the underside of a leaf. They affix themselves to the leaf with their powerful jaws, locking them in place, and remain there until they die. The fungus uses this high vantage point to rain spores onto the rest of the colony, sentencing more helpless ants to the same fate.

    There were several factors which contributed to writing the book, but he also had to face difficulties.

    “Once I started writing, [my main influence] was my friends who helped me, gave me ideas on how to write better,” Walsh said.  “The most difficult part of writing any book is coming up with a storyline and making it detailed, but still keeping the reader’s interest. You gotta think, would someone want to read this? It takes a lot of time, a lot of thinking, to not only write stuff that you like writing, but that other people would like to read.”

     Walsh also remembered a common difficulty for all writers.

    “And writer’s block,” he said.

    Ian is currently planning on writing a sequel to Stragglers in the future, but as a writer he plans to diversify the content of his writing in order to keep his interest as well as the reader’s.

    Walsh thinks that it will be more of a hobby rather than a career. However, he had advice for fellow writers.

   “You have to look at it from the perspective of, what if this was a book that I wasn’t writing, but some random author had written, and I just picked it up. Would I like it? Would I want to read it? And you gotta go back and make it so that you want to read it,” Walsh said. “Your friends and your family are the best people to help you make your book better,” he said.

   He was thankful to his step-brother, Kyle, and one of his friends, Eli, for helping inspire him and keep him going as he wrote his book.

    Stragglers, can be found on Amazon.

Walsh is also taking his first year of Journalism at MV. Check out his staff profile to see his other stories he’s written.