Student inspired to write
NATCHEZ — Following your parents’ footsteps is not an easy task, especially if your dad has written 15 New York Times bestsellers.
But Trinity Episcopal Day School eighth-grader Mark Iles, 14, is on the right track to becoming a successful author like his father Greg.
Iles recently took home first place in Mississippi for the essay he submitted to the Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest on the memoirs of famous American Paul Revere.
Iles said each participant in the contest had to write on Paul Revere.
“It was unexpected, because I had written it and didn’t think it was good enough,” he said. “My sister Madeline won the national contest a few years ago, and I have been in her shadow ever since. It’s nice to be out of it.”
Iles’ said the essay he wrote was written from the first person perspective of Revere’s final ride.
“I just wanted to have the story told from his point of view,” he said.
Iles said he has been writing since he was in the fifth grade, and has loved doing it ever since.
“My teacher always made us write stories,” he said. “Ever since then, I will write something every once in a while.”
Iles said his favorite story that he has written was done in fifth grade.
“It was about kids who were staying in a cave that discovered fire,” he said.
Iles said even though he enjoys writing, there are some times when he just can’t think of anything to say.
“With writing, sometimes you just have to let things flow,” he said. “Sometimes the words just come out easy, and sometimes they don’t.”
With that in mind, Iles said he is currently working on a book with his dad called “The League of Invisible Orphans.”
“It’s about a league of children that has been around forever, that takes in orphans and trains them with whatever skill they are good at,” he said. “They are in a constant feud with the shadow thieves, a group that is full of orphans that have turned evil.”
Iles said the book is just an outline so far, but he can’t wait to start writing.
“I am ready to write it, market it and sell it,” he said. “I hope it takes off.”
Being in a family of writers, Iles said he sometimes forgets how fun it is to have a literary family.
“You don’t realize how cool it actually is because you are so used to having it in your life,” he said.
In between writing essays and working on novels, Iles keeps up his grades too.
“I have never made a B on my report card,” he said.
Iles said he plans on continuing the good grades, so he can attend one of his two colleges of choice, Stanford Medical or Princeton.
Iles said he has interest in being a neurosurgeon if he decides against being an author.
“It just seems really awesome to operate on a brain every day,” he said.
Iles said reading is his favorite subject, and the fantasy genre is his favorite to read.
“I love the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series,” he said. “Those are my favorite books.”
Iles’ love for literature may seem rare for teenagers these days, and he said he hopes more teenagers learn the importance of reading and writing.
“Most kids in school are all about sports all the time and they forget about academics,” he said. “School is very important. It gets you to where you need to be.”
Mark Iles is the son of Greg and Carrie Iles.