I’m a 16-year-old, born and raised in the suburbs of Indianapolis, who now lives and writes in the Ozark Mountains. I’ve been homeschooled my entire life and am now a sophomore. When not reading, writing, doing school work or homestead chores, you’ll find me researching railroad history, model railroading and target shooting. I also love spending time with my family and animals.
Everyone’s homeshooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
My experience is unique because I’m an only child. This allowed my chief instructor (mom) to devote her full time and attention to me, and I got the full benefit of it. My dad taught me how to be a man, and many other practical life skills as well.
Being homeschooled prepared my attitude in writing a book. That is, desiring wholesome content that is family friendly, and allowing parents to not worry about having to “censor” or about anything inappropriate. Being homeschooled also brought me a love for history, and this definitely influenced my choice of era (about 1948) and subject (a steam locomotive)
What caused you to start writing?
That is a rather interesting story, because up until recently, I didn’t enjoy writing. My desire to begin to write was a good example of the power of having a story that I really wanted to tell, and wanting to tell it until I finally sat down, wrote it for a little while, and then discovered that I enjoyed writing.
What inspired Our First Locomotive?
There were several factors that influenced the decision to put pen to paper and write. The way things truly began was wanting to write a book series about a railroad through the Ozarks. What really started the ball moving was finding a photograph, and drawings, in an old book from 1950 of Cotton Belt #412. In reading that section of the book I found that the locomotive had formerly operated in Arkansas, and probably was retired in the era I wanted the book to be in. So, it was a perfect fit. Worked in an area reasonably close. Likely retired in about the right time. In addition, I just flat out liked the engine.
Would you give us a synopsis?
The book is 5 short stories about the retirement and sale of Cotton Belt #412 followed by his use in the construction of the Ozark Mountain Railroad. The book ends shortly before the line opens, just after the engine is named after one of the line’s initial investors. (Coincidentally, my great-great-grandfather Andrew).
Who will enjoy Our First Locomotive?
Parents and children who desire wholesome entertainment as well as train lovers of all ages. Being a train fan myself, I’ve tried to, with the exception of the trains talking, make the stories as realistic as possible to the way a real American railroad operated.
Do you plan to write more books?
Most certainly. I am working on book 2 in the series as I write this, which should be out soon. I hope to venture into non-train subjects sometime in the future (fiction and non-fiction both).
Where can people connect with you online?
GreatRailroadSeries.com is where you’ll find my blog and information about upcoming books.
Great Railroad Series: Our First Locomotive - Kindle edition by Isaac ben Levi.
Do you have any final thoughts?
With only one book published, I have much to learn and am grateful when others are willing to share.
In all things, I seek the Lord’s will.