Author Brian Claspell wants to instill his passion in students.
"I love to write, I love to read, and I think one of the things I always wanted to do is encourage people to do the same," said Claspell.
Claspell, 43, and his wife, Anna, 40, live in The Harbour subdivision off Brawley School Road in Mooresville. They have five daughters, ranging from 17 years old to 2-year-old twins.
Claspell is sponsoring and funding a high school writing contest open to high school students nationwide.
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The goal of the contest, which he intends to be annual, is to foster the love of writing in students, he said.
Claspell has advertised the first contest, titled "Imagination begins with you ..." mostly through social media and by sending e-mails to high school principals. The prize is $50, and $50 also will go to the winner's school.
The stories can be of any genre but must be 1,500 words or less. The stories will be judged on creativity and imagination. Entries must be postmarked or e-mailed by March 31, and winners will be announced in May.
Charlotte author Charity Bradford and Texas author Amy Hancock will help Claspell judge the entries. Claspell's oldest daughter, Jasmine, is going to help strip names and other identifiers from the entries so the stories can be judged blindly.
For Claspell, writing is a hobby he has enjoyed since grade school, when he wrote a series of short stories titled "Brian the Brave" (about himself, of course) set in the Bermuda Triangle.
Claspell writes purely for fun and hopes to spend much more time writing in retirement.
Claspell has a self-published book called "Living by Grace: Growth, Faith, Courage and Love" about his great-grandmother, Grace, written from the perspective of one of her children who lived for only 11 hours. It was written as a tribute to his great-grandmother and her family members, and it truly was a labor of love, according to Claspell.
Claspell's favorite types of books are the thriller genre. Claspell has written his own full-length thriller novel, titled "Conversion," which he plans to pitch to publishers.
Additionally, Claspell has written a short story for his daughters' classes, then gone to class and read it - every year through fifth grade.
This year, his story was titled "Dribble the Mouse," and daughter Brianna's class loved it.
"What you write is a creative part of yourself and a way to express yourself in a different way," said Claspell.
With a full-time job in information technology at Lowe's corporate headquarters and five children, Claspell still manages to pursue his passion - sometimes forgoing sleep to do it.
However Anna is good-natured and lets him sneak away for a weekend to finish a book or a story. But, Anna says, payback is great: she is getting a new kitchen this summer.