Tim "T.J." Pohlman has had an idea in his head for a book for going on two decades. The Sedgwick resident (who works at a pharmacy in Wichita) is now seeing a long-gestating dream realized with the upcoming release of his debut novel, "The Parable of a True Knight: Chronicles of the Knights Errant," on Jan. 21.
Pohlman admitted he was set on being present in his life with his wife and five children — part of why he delayed writing his book until now. Funny enough, though, his children (chiefly the Pohlmans' set of twins) played a key role in shaping his novel idea.
"As we were raising them, I really wanted to teach them some of the lessons that are displayed in the book. As we were doing that, the idea started coming to me at that point, and when our son was a little boy he was interested in knights, dragons, castles and things, and his twin sister was into all of the princesses — so it just kind of culminated from there," Pohlman said. "Even as a younger kid with an imagination, I loved writing stories down. I always enjoyed role playing games, Dungeons and Dragons, things like that — creating new stories. It's just been with me my whole life it seems like."
Once he had completed his book 20 years in the making, getting his work published was a "godsend," as Pohlman said his mother-in-law (who had a history in publishing) actually got an email from Elm Hill looking for manuscripts. Pohlman submitted his roughly eight months ago and things progressed quickly from there.
"The Parable of a True Knight" tells the story of Benjamin Knight, a young boy enamored with the idea of becoming a knight — to suit up in armor, slay dragons and rescue princesses. Benjamin encounters a young man, Joshua, who takes the boy under his wing and teaches him the characteristics of a true knight (being truthful, respectful, etc.). Along the way, Benjamin faces many fantastic trials and ultimately must choose between helping in a plot to overthrow the kingdom or following through with the lessons imparted to him by Joshua.
While his children helped influence the story, Pohlman noted there are several other elements from his life that were inserted into the novel — whether important people in his life that were turned into characters, places he had visited in the real world or the main character's own motivations.
"His (Benjamin's) wanting to grow up and become a knight, that was my dream as a little boy from the time I was 3 years old," Pohlman said. "My grandmother gave me an action figure of a knight with all the armor and the weapons, and that's what I wanted when I grew up was to be that."
Just completing the book was one of the most exciting parts of the writing process for Pohlman, he admitted, as life could sometimes get in the way. He also noted it was rewarding to read through passages a second or third time and have his original intended meaning come through.
Now that his first novel is complete, Pohlman said he does have plans of writing another — which shouldn't take another 20 years, as all but one of the Pohlman children are grown and out of the house. In fact, Pohlman said he has at least two ideas for continuing the story of "The Parable of the True Knight" and he is hopeful the true message of the story comes through for readers of his first book.
"I hope that people read it and the book will spark just a desire to live a true life," Pohlman said, "to not be so wrapped up in self and greed, just to be sparked to doing good deeds for other people, reaching out and making an impact on the world around them."
Currently, "The Parable of a True Knight" is available for pre-sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and faithgateway.com and will be shipped on Jan. 21.