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High school teacher finds creative energy

By Michael Davis

Sean Preston's parents never thought much of his penchant for the arts. But after their son, a Stockbridge High School teacher, published his first novel, they sat up and took notice.

"He wrote comic books as a kid," said Patty Preston. "He wrote poetry and was in drama class?but we just never thought anything would come of it," she said.

After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1996, and a year spent starting his novel and looking for a job, Sean Preston finally landed a teaching position at Eagle's Landing High School. But because of his duties, he "set the novel on the back-burner," he said.

"It was a bad year to get a job as a social studies teacher," he said. After applying for a job with the American Foreign Services, a diplomatic group, he got offered a job as a teacher, "a couple of weeks later," he said.

But Sean Preston was determined to finish his work. After leaving Eagle's Landing and teaching at Stockbridge High School for two years, he picked the writing up again.

Even though he had a busy schedule of teaching school, coaching the varsity soccer team and finishing his master's degree, Sean Preston completed his novel last Christmas and found a publisher, 1st Books, in January of this year.

"It sat on the shelf from '97 to 2001 and collected dust," he said. "Then in 2001 I picked it back up and had this new surge of creative energy."

With his book, "Services Rendered," finding its way to local book of the month clubs, Preston has found out what its like to be a first-time author.

"I just got so much raw feedback," he said. "I thought you just wrote it and it was done."

Because of "Services Rendered," Preston was invited to a book signing put on by the Cover-to-Cover book club last month and will be at another signing Monday at Chile's restaurant in Morrow, for the Page Turners book club.

"It was great and very intriguing," said Tanya Costa, a Page Turners member and assistant coordinator for ninth grade at Stockbridge High School.

Though "Services Rendered" has not been up for debate at Page Turners, "we're actually going to discuss it Sept. 8," said Costa.

And Sean Preston's book-writing career doesn't seem to have ended.

Already in to the second chapter of his second book, titled "Exile," he doesn't seem to be slowing down.

"This novel will be the continuation of the other novel," he said. "And I think I have a children's book in me somewhere."

"I can't tell you how impressed I am," said Patty Preston.

"Some people say they have a book in them and they say they are going to write it and never do," she said.