FARMINGTON (WCCO) — As a budding musician, Ben Heckmann spends his time honing his skills on the guitar. While most teenagers would be satisfied focusing on this one talent, turn a page in Ben’s life and you’ll find that music is just part of his story.
“I just love writing, drawing, illustrating — everything,” said Ben Heckmann, a twice published author.
At just 14 years old, the kid from Farmington has accomplished something many adults can’t achieve. Heckmann is a twice published author. He wrote the first book when he was 11.
“My first book, it took me 8 months. My second one took me like two and a half years,” said Heckmann.
After shopping the book around without much success, Ben submitted his book, called “Velvet Black: The Incredible Tale Of Four Rock Stars,” to Kidpub Press.
The company gives any child the opportunity to submit a rough draft with the possibility it will be published.
“The first time I held my own book, it was an amazing feeling, so overwhelming,” said Heckmann.
“We could tell from early on this was something he was going to do when he grows up. A hobby, if not a career, when he grows up,” said Heckmann’s dad, Ken.
His parents keep piles of old drawings and homemade comic books that are now seen as rough drafts for what’s now the Black Velvet series.
His second book was published this year.
“I was writing the last page, I was just closing the book and I realized this story isn’t finished,” said Heckmann, as he explained why he decided to turn Black Velvet into a series.
“I think he’s learned what it takes to be a good writer,” said Heckmann’s mother, Julie.
In the book, Ben uses a rock band to teach readers about finding friends and making good choices, but it’s his own story that speaks volumes.
“If you put your mind to something you can do it, you can accomplish it,” Heckmann said.
Ben’s book is now one of the top three sellers at Kidpub Press and gets royalties from each book, which are going into a college fund for him.