Cassidy Cornblatt always had a passion for writing, and now entering his junior year, he has realized the dream many student writers aspire to: becoming a published author.
The Carroll County native wrote his first novel, A Broken World, while still in high school and published Discordant Tones, his second novel and the first book in his War Songs young adult fantasy trilogy, on July 8.
Although the biochemistry, cellular biology and molecular genetics and English major has always had a great interest in science, Cornblatt had a feeling writing a trilogy would be in his future.
“I had this dream that I was in a library, and I saw these three books on a shelf that had my name on them,” Cornblatt recalled. “When I woke up, I thought, ‘Oh, I guess I should write a trilogy.’”
The War Songs books follow a trio of refugees coming of age in a war-torn fantasy land. Using their magical abilities, the companions take it upon themselves to learn what has plunged their world into seemingly endless war and what they can do to bring about peace.
A Broken World takes place in the same setting but follows a different story line.
Cornblatt has always enjoyed reading and writing. Both he and his mother, Natasha Cornblatt, recalled the little poems and stories he wrote as a child, yet none of them were completed.
While applying to college, Cassidy Cornblatt finally sat down to write and finish his first novel with his parents’ support.
“He’s very self-motivated, so we don’t have to do a whole lot,” Natasha Cornblatt said. “Because really, when he decides to do something, he just does it.”
Cassidy Cornblatt wrote A Broken World at 16 and said it was not easy to get published. Several publishers rejected the book before Old Line Publishing finally released it in November 2011.
Cornblatt chose a different publishing route for Discordant Tones — he decided to self-publish it, like many aspiring authors. Through CreateSpace, a company affiliated with Amazon.com, Cornblatt was able to write, edit and publish the novel without corporate backing. Cornblatt’s books are available on Amazon.com, and he is trying to get them onto bookstore shelves.
Despite taking on three majors, Cornblatt said the positive experience with his first book motivated him to keep going, and he began working on Discordant Tones in summer 2012. He fit it into his busy schedule by setting aside time to write during summer and winter breaks.
His writing is like his job, Natasha Cornblatt said, but Cassidy added that his passion for science is still a priority. He includes terminology from his science courses to enhance the details in his novels and said he enjoys using that knowledge in a different setting.
“He’s always been incredibly well-rounded, and that’s pretty rare — when you have someone who’s able to do it all,” Natasha Cornblatt said.
Tom Frances, a friend of Cassidy Cornblatt’s, was impressed by how he had time to write and handle three majors while still receiving great grades.
“He’s a pretty independent guy,” said Frances, a junior kinesiology major. “But when he has a goal, he can certainly accomplish it on his own. No question about that.”
While he’s not sure if he wants to make his hobby a full-time career, he plans to continue to embrace writing, even as he looks to earn a doctorate.
Being a young, published author has opened a lot of opportunities, Cornblatt said, such as the chance to visit a fifth-grade class at his old elementary school. He was also able to attend and serve on panels for MystiCon, a Virginia science fiction, horror and fantasy convention, earlier this year.
“The more people that read [the books], the cooler, because then people can talk to you about your story,” Cornblatt said. “And it’s always fun to hear how people interpret it.”