Book Groupie: Local teacher writes for youths

March 25, 2011

Editor’s note: Book Groupie will feature more Colorado authors in April.

Here’s a look at “Griffin Rising,” the recent debut of Darby Karchut, a teacher at Cheyenne Mountain Junior High School.

The title character of this young adult fantasy is an angel in training. Griffin’s first tutor, the angel Nicopolis, abuses the young angel-to-be. Basil takes over Griffin’s training, and eventually, Griffin and Basil become close. Griffin blossoms, as does his love for a mortal girl, Katie. The romance is difficult, but what weighs on Griffin more is the coming angel exam: If he fails, he becomes mortal. And Nicopolis will administer Griffin’s final angel exam.

Here, Karchut talks about the book and his plans for a sequel.    

Question: Your book is set in the fictional town of High Springs, Colo. Is High Springs really Colorado Springs in disguise?

Answer: It is, and I had so much fun embedding quintessential landmarks in my story. Since I needed to tweak the size and layout of the city, I chose to rename it and make High Springs a scaled-down version of Colorado Springs. Folks that live here, especially those in the downtown area around Palmer High School, will recognize loads of familiar locations.

Q: Are you hoping to visit schools and book clubs with “Griffin Rising?”

A: I would be thrilled to meet with any group, especially schools. As a teacher, students are near and dear to my heart. I wrote these books for middle school teens. I enjoy sharing my thoughts about the writing process as well as my journey to publication.

Q: You’re planning a sequel. How far along are you in the process?

A: The sequel, “Griffin’s Fire,” was written at the same time as the first book, so it is basically finished. It is scheduled for an April 2012 release.

Other Colorado books featuring young protagonists:
• “Go Big or Go Home,” by Will Hobbs, is a sci-fi novel for ages 10 and up.
• “Sandcastles Last Forever,” by Donald Koterwas, is a story of a 10-year-old boy and his dreams.
• “Kevin’s Point of View,” by Del Shannon, is an adventure story starring a 12-year-old boy.
• “Head over Blue Heal: The Story of Rita Rumble,” by Paxton Helling, is a self-esteem booster for young readers.

Contact Miller at

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