Coach writes more than the playbook

Packheiser’s first novel hits bookshelves as coach dives into the action/fantasy genre
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Editor’s Note: Sports reporter Sara Seyydin caught up with Placer JV football coach Jim Packheiser to interview him about his recently published novel, “The Sun King Prophecy.” Their conversation follows:
1. What inspired you to write this book?
“It’s kind of a long process. I quit my job (as a project manager for a software company in Auburn) and went back to school.
In writing papers I got a lot of positive response and took a creative writing class. My wife (Andrea, a pharmacist at Auburn Drug) got me a book called “How to write a novel in 30 days.” I was writing it for my nephew who is a sophomore in high school at Placer.”
2. Explain your writing process.
“Fifty thousand words is a novel and I was writing 1,500 words a day. The story just kind of played like a movie in my head and I would do about a chapter a day. I ended up writing over 100,000 words, so there will probably be two more books to come out. After the first draft is the hard part. You have to keep reworking it.”
3. Who will enjoy this book?
“It’s geared toward young adults. I would say 10-12 year olds or over. It’s a book of battles and a little bit violent, so I would say 10-12. My son is 8 and he could probably handle it. It compares to the (J.R.R.) Tolkien books or (“The Chronicles of) Narnia” or “Eragon,” though my brain doesn’t go as far into the fantasy. It is a little more realistic.”
4. What was the most challenging part of authoring a book?
“Doing the rewriting and submitting your book for critiques. Being able to step back and take it for what it was. It’s like your baby. I compare having to take out a part to like killing your babies.”
5. How does being a coach correlate with being an author?
“For this book it definitely correlates because it’s an action and adventure book. It’s also a book about leadership, caring about something more than yourself and making the right choices.
In football we talk about all of those things, leadership, caring more about your teammates than yourself. I think those things come through in the book. Football is similar in some respects because it may not be life or death, but you go out and try to win.”
6. What made you decide to write a fantasy novel?
“I enjoy it and I was kind of a closet-nerd as a kid. I knew it was something my nephew was interested in. I like historical fiction and there is kind of a twist on that in the book.”
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