Carlton Brock III, a junior English major, likes being in control of the world. When a writer gets behind a computer or notebook, that's exactly the type of power they possess.
"With Enhanced I literally made the world new," Brock said of his recently self-published science fiction novel.
His novel, which incorporates elements of action and adventure, takes place in the year 2085 during the middle of a global war. The story follows Rio Orca, a soldier who is able to start fires with his mind. Many characters within the novel define the title, and are enhanced in some way like Rio.
While self-publishing a novel at 19 years old is a major accomplishment, it isn't what sets Brock apart from most other college students, though it helps.
Most juniors in college barely find the time for juggling school, homework, part-time jobs, and a social life. Brock, however, isn't like most juniors.
"He's the type of kid instead of going out partying on a Saturday night, he'd rather spend time with his younger siblings and read a book to them," said Carlton Brock Jr., Brock's father and senior vice president of St. Jude Medical Inc. "My daughter is trying to write her own book because she wants to be just like her big brother."
Brock is one of nine sisters and brothers including stepsiblings. When he isn't writing, reading, or seeing the latest movie to have hit theaters on Friday night, he is spending as much time as possible with his siblings.
"It's something I try to make time to do every week," Brock said. "It's also really interesting to try and see the world through their eyes and help them learn new things."
Whether it's simply playing with his three younger siblings – 7-year-old Simone, and 4-year-old Peyton and Nia – or attending his brother's shows – local hip-hop artist and freshman undecided major Quinton ‘Scooter' Brock – Carlton dedicates the same amount of time to his family as he does to his writing.
Brock has been writing for as far back as he can remember. He started with descriptions of the artwork he enjoyed creating and then moved onto writing his own lyrics, poetry, and eventually stories.
"Enhanced is just the next step in my growth as a writer," Brock said, even though he wasn't sure he wanted to become an author. "I've always wanted to write a book. But for a long time I wanted to be a paleontologist. Indirectly, Rex in Enhanced is the result of that desire. If you ask me today, being an author is really only part of what I want to do. You can be an author and be anything… I'm a student, and a cashier [at BJ's], and an author."
Brock has many aspirations for himself and is ready to achieve them all. His accomplishments at such a young age is inspiring not only to his friends and family, but for other students hoping to become published authors themselves.
"I'm just really glad that he's following his beliefs and what he likes to do because there's not a lot of people out there now a days that actually do what they want to do," said Alex Kishkurna, a junior in the nursing program at Niagara County Community College andBrock's good friend. "[He is an example that] anything is achievable in this age…anything is possible if you really want it, and if you really believe in something you want to accomplish."
While it may take time and hard work to write a novel, getting through the publishing process is an even bigger feat. Brock decided to go with self-publishing after he did immense research and discovered it was the best solution for a first-time author. His stepmother also decided to self-publish her own work, and together they chose the company, I-Universe.
I-Universe creates an outlet in which new up-and-coming authors can market and sell their work. Because of I-Universe, Enhanced is now available for purchase at barnesandnoble.com, I-tunes, can be downloaded as an E-book, and on his website, brockenhanced.com. The average price of the book comes out to about $15.
Brock began Enhanced in hissenior year of high school after he and his best friend, Taylor Allen, a junior history education major at Buffalo State,decided writing novels was something they both wanted to do. Brock has received a lot of support, encouragement, and helpful feedback from his friends who have helped him throughout the three years it took Brock to complete Enhanced.
"It was just something fun to do," Allen said. "We would share work; we would read each other's stuff. He's an amazing writer, I'm very proud of him for getting his book done. I've had a hard time staying focused enough on getting it done [myself], so I'm pretty envious that he was able to stick to it, and get the whole thing done and get it out."
Brock's Introduction to Creative Writing professor Alexander Porco is not at all surprised that Brock successfully published his novel.
"I recall him being a talented and industrious young writer, one possessed with a knack for making fantastical worlds and extraordinary characters come to life," Porco said. "I hope his book finds some welcoming readers."
For his next book, Brock hopes to explore the traditional publishing route, but said that it must feel right. If self-publishing is the way to go again, then it will be. A second book might be possible in the next couple of years and he hopes to produce a literary comic book of sorts to keep Enhanced, rather than a series, according to Brock.
Currently, Brock is maintaining a blog in the perspective of Rex, one of the main characters in Enhanced.In addition, he has also written stories that take place before the book's setting and in the years after it.
"Eventually I want to see what I can do and make it network, make it interesting," Brock said.
While Brock is looking to the endless possibilities that await him in the future, he is not alone.
"[Brock] can go anywhere if he keeps his mind to it and [stays] determined and continues to take good direction and listen," Carlton Jr. said. "Who knows, the future is endless, but it's a great beginning. As I like to say, [for] young authors to be established, you gotta get the first one in and he's got the first one well ahead of most kids. So as he continues to develop and learn a skill, who knows."