Writing a book isn’t easy. It’s a long, arduous process that can also be creatively satisfying once you reach your end goal. On top of that, not only do you have to write it, but once it’s done, you’ll want to get it out into the world for others to enjoy as well. And so begins the long process of finding a publisher, long hours of editing, and approving designs, and so on.

So when someone publishes a book, it’s definitely a cause to celebrate. And when a Dodge College student publishes a book, that’s even more of a reason to rejoice.

Mack Kalish (BA/Screenwriting ’15) just had his first novel,
Butterflies: A Love Story with a Gun in its Mouth
, released a few weeks ago, and he couldn’t be prouder.

The story is a coming-of-age tale, revolving around Thomas Doheny, as he becomes a man after his first heart-break. We follow Thomas from the age of fifteen to thirty as he deals with love, sex, drugs, violence, and everything in between, including his blossoming career.

“It sort of came about spur of the moment,” Kalish said when asked about the book. “I’m a screenwriting major, but I was asked to write a single chapter of a book for a project two years ago. I enjoyed the process so much that the next idea I had, I decided to explore as a novel rather than a screenplay.”

Poster art for the film BUTTERFLIES

The book, which took 11 months to write, began to take shape when he was sitting in traffic, and a missing piece of the story just clicked in his head. From there, he began to get it down on paper.

“I have a weird writing process where I won’t do it for two weeks, and then I’ll write for 3 days straight without leaving the house. It’s unconventional, but it works for me,” Kalish said.

When he finished it, he queried the novel to a few publishers, but it didn’t pan out because a lot of publishers are hesitant with young authors. Kalish got tired of waiting and decided to forge ahead with publishing it himself.

Lucky for him, Andrew Le (BFA/Digital Arts ’15) is currently taking a book design class, and was able to design the interior and exterior of the book for him. This helped to lessen the cost on Kalish’s end, AND get it done just the way he wanted.

“I come from a family of writers. My dad has never written a novel before, so he sees this as his ‘son succeeds the father’ moment. He’s my biggest supporter.”

Aside from the book, Kalish has a few pilots and screenplays he is working on. He feels that the novel was a fun side project, and something he will do again. But for now, he is focused on graduating and starting his career in film.

“That being said, if someone paid me to write another book, I’d do it again in a heartbeat!”

You can purchase
Butterflies: A Love Story with a Gun in its Mouth on Amazon.