A book that sprung from boredom in the jungles of Peru on Study-Service Term is now an ongoing series published on Amazon.
Ryan Haggerty, a senior, is passionate about science and running. This is evident through his physics major, math minor and dedication to the college’s track team. But he also makes time for writing, taking his mom’s computer as a kid to write short stories.
“I had a very active imagination as a kid,” he said. “And I still do.”
As Haggerty grew up and got involved, writing short stories became a thing of the past until he traveled to Peru for SST in 2018.
While on his service assignment in San Miguel, he taught English and computer skills, but soon became aware that hiking wasn’t going to cut it in terms of free-time activities. So Haggerty turned back to his childhood passion: writing. This time, his medium was an iPad.
“I don’t know how I managed that, actually, writing it on my iPad,” Haggerty said. “I’m happy I have my computer now. [It’s] definitely an upgrade.”
During those six weeks, Haggerty wrote an entire book — 259 pages. Writing became a good source of entertainment for him during a time with no access to Wi-Fi, and he soon rediscovered his love for writing.
After returning from Peru, Haggerty self-published the book, Academy Bloodstone, because he wasn’t sure it would get picked up by a publisher.
“I enjoyed that experience, and so I wrote another one, and then I wrote a third one and now I don’t think I can stop,” he said.
The series is a young adult superhero series of the science fiction genre with three books completed and a fourth one on the way.
Haggerty has chosen to write under the pseudonym Henry G. Taygar. The name has a special significance to him. Henry was the name of his host father in Peru, and the rest of the name is formed using all the letters of his given name in a different order.
Though written in the jungle, the books contain characters with similar characteristics of people whom Haggerty already knows.
“Relating the characters to people I know made it easier for me as an inexperienced author to create more three-dimensional characters,” he said.
In less than two years, his books have caught the attention of readers online as well as those right here on campus. Pat Lehman, adjunct professor in the communication department, is an avid reader and really enjoys Haggerty’s books.
“Ryan’s books pull me in because he creates characters I come to care about,” she said. “Quite simply, I want to find out what happens to them, so I can’t put the book down until I do.”
Lehman still recalls several of the book’s characters.
“My favorite characters are Theo and Lena,” she said. “Theo because I loved watching him move from his life as a college runner to doing secret missions as an Alpha from Academy Bloodstone, and Lena because she is a female Alpha who meets tremendous challenges on her missions and succeeds with grit and dignity.
“Haggerty’s three books keep me relentlessly reading, the highest honor I can give to any writer,” she said. “I am eagerly waiting for Alphas Book IV.”
Sierra Richer, a teammate of Haggerty’s, had similar feelings toward the books, though she had no idea the author was her friend.
“When I found out Ryan was an author, I thought someone was playing a joke on me,” she said. ”I couldn’t believe it.”
“I am not usually a big reader of science fiction, but I’ve been pretty drawn into all of his books,” Richer said. “The characters aren’t your typical superheroes, but I think that’s what I like about his characters. It’s like reading about what I would be like if I was plopped into the shoes of a superhero. That keeps things pretty interesting.”
Author Henry G. Taygar is currently working on his fourth book of the series and anticipates writing more after it is published.
Still, writing remains a hobby. His real goal in life is to earn a Ph.D. in water engineering so he can continue his work in the research field.
As part of his passion for helping the world with better water systems, Haggerty designates a portion of the profits from his novels to Mennonite Central Committee’s water projects.
“It’s just one way the books can help others,” he said.