Teacher Becomes Student and Lands Publishing Contract

SALT LAKE CITY, UT June 14, 2013

IMG_0066John Irby, as the journalism teacher and school newspaper advisor at a junior high school, spent years guiding young writers. As a Language Arts teacher, he encouraged his students to read and write their hearts out.

Now, all these years later, he continues to give himself the same advice. His novel about a red-tailed hawk named Orville caught the eye of WiDo’s acquisition editor, Allie Maldonado, who twice encouraged Irby to rewrite and resubmit it for further consideration.

“Although there were some problems originally with point of view and narrative consistency, the story was solid and the writing itself was wonderful. It is a charming story told well,” Maldonado says. “I found the manuscript refreshingly original and really wanted John to nail it. Thankfully he did, showing his professionalism and skill as a writer, and we were happy to offer him a contract.”

The book that captured Maldonado’s attention is about Orville, a brave red-tailed hawk, born with flawed DNA, who finds an unusual friendship in the loving care of a lonely rancher’s daughter on the plains of South Dakota.  When young Kate Flannery accidentally falls into an abandoned well, Orville attempts a daring rescue.

John Irby has this to say about his book: “After getting serious about my own writing and being rebuffed by countless New York literary agents, I stumbled upon WiDo Publishing and their acquisitions editor Allie Maldonado who seemed to enjoy my writing.  Her ready willingness to read the entire manuscript and be my gentle guide convinced me that my story had at last found a home.”

 About John Irby:

I was born in Butte, Montana but mostly raised near a tiny village just northeast of Seattle, Washington along with two sisters and two brothers.  Since we lived in the boonies with no access to a library, my mother walked us kids half a mile to the crossroads once a month to visit the county Book Mobile, where I first discovered the adventures found only in books.  Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan novels jump-started my budding imagination. At home, whenever anyone became ill, our mother, even with her very meager budget, provided comic books along with the aspirin.  I read and reread our stacks of Archie comic books until I had them memorized.

I now live in sunny Marana, Arizona with my wife, Norizan, a Malaysian citizen. I write in the cool and quiet times each morning, tend our garden, and try to stay in shape by walking and playing a bit of golf.  We enjoy long drives, discovering new restaurants and traveling whenever we can.