Born releases second ‘Bizarre Events’ book

By COLBY DENTON
Posted 1/6/19

Richard Born, a local author with a big heart and flair for the strange, has just completed his second novel in a series  inspired by books from his childhood.

Born’s newest book …

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Born releases second ‘Bizarre Events’ book

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Richard Born, a local author with a big heart and flair for the strange, has just completed his second novel in a series  inspired by books from his childhood.

Born’s newest book is  “The Bizarre Events at Hellman Elementary: Jurassic Field Trip.” This is a loose sequel to his first novel in the “Bizarre Events” series, “The Bizarre Events at Hellman Elementary: The Nexus of Strange.”

The 34-year-old is originally from Memphis, but moved with his family around age 4 to Chattanooga, where he graduated from Central High School. He then attended Western University in Kentucky, where he majored in creative writing and English with a minor in broadcasting, and became a foster parent following his graduation in 2009. While he is no longer a foster parent, he did adopt two 13-year-old boys, Christian and Luke, with special needs and they now live in Cleveland.

“My books are about a school where strange things happen. Teachers aren’t always what they seem. For example, the fifth-grade teacher is so hairy he may be a Bigfoot. There are also strange creatures that roam the halls and you have to figure out for yourself as the reader who is good and who is bad,” Born said.

“Nexus of Strange” is narrated through the point of view of four main characters, while the new sequel, “Jurassic Field Trip,” is from the point of view of one character. Each of the characters are within the range of grades three and four. 

A writer since third gradelf, Born said his teacher at the time  called his parents to tell them about his exceptional writing talent.

He started writing “Nexus of Strange” five years ago; however, the book wasn’t published until two years ago. This was partly due to his involvement with his foster children, as he pushed writing aside to focus solely on them.

“I actually have 53 children who call me 'Dad.' They range in age from 13-26. The 26-year-old has kids of his own, so I’m technically a grandpa!” Born said laughingly.

Born worked as a therapeutic foster parent, meaning he worked with  children who had experienced more trauma or had more issues than others in the system. Through this, he learned how children see some common things in life as scary, and mirrored these ideas in his writing to make it more authentic.

“Some things are scary that shouldn’t be and vice versa, which is what made me want to go for the writing genre of scary, but comedic,” he said.

One of the perks of the “Bizarre Events” series is  they can be read in any order; however, if you read them in order you will notice certain Easter eggs mentioned from the previous entries. Born compares his books to R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” series, which he read when he was a child. He also incorporates elements of folklore, legends and cryptozoology from the world into his fictional tales.

He held a book signing for “Jurassic Field Trip” in December at the Barnes & Noble at Hamilton Place Mall, but also signed copies of “Nexus of Strange.” Throughout each of his signings, a massive spider is placed on the table, which relates to a previous child Born fostered. He ahas people dress as characters from the books to interact with guests throughout the signing.

Every time he hosts a book signing, he donates a portion to a local charity. This time, about 20 percent of the proceeds from his book signing went to the Erlanger Children’s Hospital.

The third book in the series, “The Bizarre Events at Hellman Elementary: Temper Tantrums are Not for Fifth-Graders,” is set to be released in 2019.  Born is also currently writing Book Four.

The books are intended for children grades 3 to 8; however, he said young adults will enjoy them as a quick read as well.

“People should like to read, especially kids. If you can get a kid to read, it opens up so many avenues for them,” he added.

The “Bizarre Events” series can be purchased at Barnes & Noble bookstores, barnesandnoble.com, Nook, Amazon and booksamillion.com.

For more information, check out the books’ Facebook under “Bizarre Events at Hellman Elementary,” or their Instagram at @Hellmanseries.

Born said to always keep your eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary, as he tries to do as well.

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