Author Talk 2021: James Harlow on New Book, “Enralak”

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Vice Principal Mr. Harlow reads some of his book, “Enralak” to students

Brittany Dolling, News Editor

Cam High’s library was full of over 200 students supporting their Vice Principal, Mr. Harlow, as he hosted an Author Talk on December 14th for his new book, Enralak. Harlow will be retiring as Cam High’s Vice Principal at the end of the semester, but will continue to do something he loves- writing, and sharing his work with many.

At the author talk, Harlow described some of his writing process, and even treated the students by reading an excerpt of his new book, Enralak. Enralak is a book about a young boy named Elias who gets lost in the tunnels of Central Park on his 10th birthday, stumbling into a magical world called Enralak. The story takes place over a time span of seven days, ending on Christmas Day. What will happen to Elias while he is in Enralak? Does he get home safely, or will he forever be trapped in an unfamiliar world?

When describing his book, Harlow explained how it was made for a young adult audience, mainly for “teenage boys who may not like reading.” Each chapter is formatted so that they are short, ending on a cliffhanger so people feel compelled to continue reading. “The outline is that of a suspense novel.” Harlow described. Along with this, Harlow revealed that some aspects of the book were influenced by other stories he read that he enjoyed. “I really loved Lord of the Rings, I loved The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and I loved Wizard of Oz, so it’s an homage to all those stories. If you read the book, you’ll see elements of those [stories] intentionally in the book.”

While writing this book, Harlow found his main inspiration from animals; specifically, caribou and deer. “It started with caribou coming to life and jumping off a carousel, and then it just grew from there. Themes emerged over years, and I could sort of think of those themes and see how they played out.” Harlow specified. The Disney movie Bambi played a part in this story as well. “When I was a kid, I was taken to see Bambi and I loved Bambi, and deer.” he added on. 

A final theme that Harlow hopes is conveyed within the book is learning to love. This is more about a second character that is a main focus in the novel. “It’s about, in part, a second character as well. The theme that emerged is, how do we learn to love when we haven’t been shown love ourselves?”

Mr. Harlow read an excerpt of Enralak at his Author Talk, which was a treat for both the students and the staff that attended. One of the staff was Cam High’s own librarian, Miss Resnik. She organized the event for her colleague, and was very happy with the amount of students that attended. “I was overwhelmed and thrilled at the turnout. I anticipated quite a number of students showing up, but the students exceeded my expectations.” Resnik expressed. 

With Mr. Harlow leaving Cam High, Resnik did say that she felt sad to see him go, but also excited for him. “I’m really excited for his next phase of his journey. Retirement for teachers just means a new path, a new path to doing more exciting things in life.” One thing Resnik is looking forward to is hearing about Mr. Harlow’s new journeys. ” I look forward to hearing about his new adventures, and new friends he’s gonna make. He does inspire me as a friend, a colleague, and a human.” 

Cam High hasn’t had an Author Talk in a while, and Miss Resnik is eager to have more local authors be promoted! If you or any of your friends knows an author in the community who would like to have their work promoted, she encourages you to reach out to her at the Cam High library. If you would like to purchase a first edition, signed copy of Enralak for $24.95, you can email Mr. Harlow at [email protected]