APOPKA, Fla. – For more than a decade, an Seminole County teacher dedicated time off from homework assignments to writing stories, but they were never published until this year.
“It’s really unreal. I’m kind of blown away by it,” Greg Prado said.
He’s finally living the dream after his first science fictions books made it to print.
“I always hoped and dreamed I might some day have some stories but I kind of pushed that part of myself aside because it wasn’t cool and I wanted to be liked more than anything else,” Prado said.
He remembers being picked on for reading comic books and for being fascinated by the mysteries of science and galaxies far, far away.
“I’ve always been into that sci-fi, nerdy stuff. I’ve been into Marvel since I was real little, ‘Star Wars,’ and something that also had a really big impact on me growing up was actually playing video games,” the special needs teacher said.
But he also found that writing became an escape -- helping him cope with personal issues.
"I've struggled with depression in my life and writing was very cathartic. It allowed me to get a lot of those emotions out," Prado said.
Today, Prado enjoys his job as a teacher and also an author. His mother-in-law, who happens to be a novel author, often helps edit his rough drafts.
“His women characters are also very well-written and very strong, whether they are strong for the good or strong for the bad,” Tawdra Kandle said. “When he started writing fiction, I could really see that he had not only a love for it but a good grasp of the story and of characters, which is what is most important is to be able to look into people and do good characterization.”
Pardo’s first science-fiction thriller, “Entrapment,” is a murder mystery that takes place in a mansion on the planet Mars.
"Where they're all kind of completely trapped and slowly a killer comes around and starts murdering them," Prado said about the book's plot.
His second book, “Unnatural Selection,” is a tale of life and death in outer space between a man and his ex-girlfriend.
“It’s creative authors finding ways to tell their stories -- stories that maybe some people wouldn’t even want, told in very different and exotic ways,” the 30-year-old said.
His third book, “The Andromeda Paradox,” takes place on a new planet and is set around humanity’s first colonization vessel.
It’s an achievement Prado hopes serves as an example for children who might shy away from pursuing their own dreams.
“I hope that kids realize it’s OK you like nerdy stuff and not to kind of quash who they are just because they want to fit in, which is what I did for a very, very long time,” he said. “I guess if there’s any impact at all, I hope they see my books and think, ‘OK, I can like this stuff, I can do this.’”