Alcorn alumnus Marcus Haynes anticipating the release of his first science-fiction novel
As a child, Alcorn State University alumnus Marcus Haynes’ active imagination was fueled by his love for comic books, video games and science-fiction fantasies. His love for fiction not only inspired him to start writing his own stories, but it also sparked the idea to sell his work to his peers. After receiving rave reviews from his classmates, he realized that being a writer was his calling.
“When I was nine years old, I started writing my own fantasy books,” said Haynes. “I hand wrote books on notebook paper, stapled the pages between construction paper, took them to school and sold them to my classmates for 50 cents each. When school ended and I started getting calls from my classmates about wanting more of my books, I knew I was going to be a writer.”
Haynes’ creative imagination and writing abilities has grown over the years; so much so that his debut novel, “Legend of the Orange Scepter,” will be released in September. The science-fiction tale chronicles the journey of five teenage boys who plan to take down an evil android dictator with their ability to manipulate elements.
The upcoming book release is a dream come true for Haynes.
“It’s so exciting! This is something I’ve been dreaming of for a long time, so to know that this opportunity is right around the corner is amazing.”
One thing that Haynes noticed about traditional super hero stories is that they lack a presence of heroic minorities. For this reason, his upcoming novel features people of different races as the story’s saviors.
“My book features many African-American and Hispanic characters because I think it is important for children of color to see themselves in the media as complex individuals and not just sidekicks. I want people who read my book to see that people of color can be super heroes.”
Haynes earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Alcorn in 2012. During his time here, he said that his instructors gave him the encouragement he needed to pursue his career as an author.
“Alcorn gave me the opportunity to write creatively. Before I took a class that gave me the chance to write a short story, I hadn’t written a story in about five years. Being told how great my stories were encouraged me to start writing again.”
Now that Haynes is officially an author, he offers advice to aspiring writers and explains why more African-American authors are needed in the entertainment industry.
“Read as much as possible. So much of my writing style has been influenced by what I read. You cannot be a good writer if you’re not a good reader. Develop tough skin because the publishing world can be harsh. Never stop writing no matter what genre you like. Never let anyone tell you what you’re doing doesn’t have value. If more African-Americans wrote books, they could possibly shape the identity of African-American youth by encouraging them to love and appreciate their culture.”
For more information about Haynes’ upcoming novel and future goals, visit his blog at www.theratchedemic.squarespace.com.