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Jason Olson, Deseret News
"Farworld: Water Keep" author Jeff Savage, center, with his sons, Jake, 10, left, and Nick, 8, at their home in Spanish Fork.

SPANISH FORK — As a guy who's worked his way through an estimated 57 jobs, Jeff Savage neither fears change nor challenge.

But the 45-year-old Spanish Fork man was hesitant to pursue his dream career: writing novels for young adults.

Don't be mistaken, Savage didn't doubt his writing prowess. Several writing gigs flesh out his lengthy list of job descriptions, including a stint as editor of a computer tabloid.

And it wasn't because Savage had nothing write about. As he bounded among jobs as a plumber, French chef, CEO of a dot.com business and talk-radio host, a story line, about a physically disabled boy who finds passage into a world of magic, was slowly spinning in his mind.

But that's where it stayed for years.

"I can't really write that," he'd tell himself.

Then one day, Savage received a call from friend James Dashner, who said he just signed a deal with Shadow Mountain publishing to sell his series "The 13th. Reality." While he was happy for his friend, Savage said the story in his own mind started to stir again.

"The story wouldn't leave my head," he said.

Savage tried to focus on his current job as a traveling salesman, but it got to a point where he found himself tossing and turning in the bed of his motel room until 2 a.m. Finally, he decided to get it out of his system.

"I'll prove to myself I can't do this," he told himself.

Five hours and 5,000 words later, he was amazed at the ease the story transitioned from mind to page. But that's not to say his body was symptom-free from the all-nighter.

"I was tired the whole day," he said. "But, on the other hand, I was walking on Cloud Nine."

Three months later, he finished his first book, "Farworld: Water Keep."

He sent it into Shadow Mountain. It snatched it up, signing Savage to a five-book deal. The novel hits bookstores Friday.

The story chronicles the adventures of Marcus Kanenas, a physically disabled boy who finds a passageway into Farworld — a land where magic, charms and potions are everywhere. There, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic and considered disabled by her world's standard, and the two realize their own unique potential.

The way Savage sees it, everybody has magic or potential hidden inside them. For him, Savage waded through numerous jobs, some lasting longer than others.

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"He worked at McDonald's for about four hours once," his wife, Jennifer, jokes.

Savage said he just didn't like the 17-year-old manager's leadership style.

But Savage said he encourages young people to go out and explore new hobbies and pastimes to find that magic in them.

"I think what holds us back a lot is fear of failure," he said. "We should say, 'If I fail, it's OK, I don't need to succeed all the time."'

If you go ...

WHAT: Launch party for Farworld: Water Keep

WHERE: Spanish Fork Public Library, 49 S. Main

WHEN: Saturday, noon to 3 p.m.


E-mail: jdana@desnews.com