Jake Tyson, a 2018 Central Baptist College graduate, has signed a contract with Ambassador International for his debut novel, Vigilante’s Light.
Tyson said he began writing Vigilante’s Light in the fall of 2018, shortly after he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.
“It came together surprisingly fast, probably about four to five months,” said Tyson.
Tyson said that his major in Journalism, while not specifically focused on fiction writing, helped better his writing.
“I think overall those [journalism] courses just helped me become a better writer in general,” said Tyson. “Features, Editorials and Reviews focused a lot on writing in general and the craft of writing so that was a big help.”
Tyson said he was thrilled when Ambassador International contacted him about officially signing with them.
“I was always anticipating this day, but I knew it might be far off,” said Tyson. “I was so excited beyond words when I found out they actually wanted to sign me.”
Tyson said he’s known he’s wanted to be an author since he was nine years old.
“I wanted to tell my own stories. I’ve always loved stories, you know, movies, TV shows, books, I’ve always been a big reader. Even at [nine years old] I really wanted to be able to tell my own stories,” said Tyson. “I decided that that’s what I really wanted to do was write books and become an author and that desire just never left as I got older.”
Tyson said his inspiration for Vigilante’s Light came from his favorite TV show, Arrow, because its characters and storylines resonated with him.
“[One] thing that inspired me was that there’s not really a well-known Christian superhero,” said Tyson. “I wanted to take a look at the idea of a Christian superhero just from a more serious perspective and sort of the perspective that the show Arrow does take on it with darker themes like crime and vigilantism, things like that, just a more serious take on it while still having the character be a Christian and having to balance their faith with what they’re doing as a superhero.”
In Vigilante’s Light, a man named Gideon Turner returns from a medical mission trip in Venezuela with mysterious new superpowers. Turner uses these newfound powers to save his city from a criminal mastermind.
About a year after starting Vigilante’s Light, and six months after finishing it, Tyson said he signed his contract with Ambassador international.
“I think I finished the final draft in November or December, and I spent most of the months following that pitching to different publishers and none of that really panned out until I pitched to Ambassador, I think it was at the end of June, so probably about six months.”
Tyson pitched his novel to Ambassador after they requested a copy of his manuscript during a Twitter event called Faith Pitch, where authors of novels with a biblical worldview can post the synopsis for their book, including hashtags required by the contest. Agents and publishers look through the posts and reach out when they’re interested in a novel.
Tyson said Ambassador reached out to him for his manuscript during this event. After sending in a partial manuscript on their website, he was contacted again by the chief editor who wanted a full copy.
While Tyson said he loved writing his main character, Gideon, he found that some of his favorite scenes to write were actually with Gideon’s best friend, Dean.
“[Dean’s] just a really fun character, he’s very lighthearted, he brings a lot of humor to the book that otherwise wouldn’t be there. Every scene I got to write Dean in was a lot of fun,” said Tyson.
Tyson isn’t stopping with Vigilante’s Light, either. He said he already has future projects that he’s preparing for.
“There are sequels for Vigilante’s Light that I want to write, as well as other projects after that, but those sequels are my top priority,” said Tyson.
Tyson said he has advice for other aspiring authors.
“First of all, don’t quit. I was fully understanding that it would be years before I found the right publisher, but that’s the case with everybody. You have to find the person and the publisher that fits for you, and that can take time, so don’t get discouraged,” said Tyson. “Mental health is [also] a huge part of it because writing can be very fun…but there are also times where I just don’t have anything and I have to take a step back from it because if I try to write when I don’t have anything it’s stressful…and that makes it harder. Knowing when to take breaks and knowing when to take a step back from it [is a big thing]. So three things: persevere, be patient, and step back when you need to step back.”
Vigilante’s Light’s official release date is unknown, but Tyson said it should hit the market in paperback and ebook formats within the next two years.
“I’m very blessed with this opportunity, I’m very thankful for it,” said Tyson. “I’m looking forward to hearing all the comments of people who read it and I hope that everyone enjoys it, but above all I hope that it brings honor to God and that it draws everyone who [reads] it closer to him.”
Photo by Allison Bisher