Freshman Teddy Manthei writes and publishes book


Campus instructional coach Teresa Hughes holding a copy of O’Lane the Mailman besides Teddy Manthei. Photo courtesy of Teresa Hughes.

From Left to Right: Gina Pierce, Teresa Hughes, Stacy Binckley, and Tori Holder holding a copy of “O’Lane the Mailman” behind author freshman Teddy Manthei.

The misadventures of a mailman named O’Lane are chronicled in a book published by freshman Teddy Manthei in April 2022.

“The book is called O’Lane the Mailman,” Manthei said. “Basically there’s this mailman who delivers mail and at some point, he steals mail from a child. Later, he gets his karma. A group of teenagers accidentally ram into his car and steal his wallet. He wants to chase them and get back at them. It’s a fictional graphic novel about a man who goes on an adventure to find other people and teach them a lesson.”

Manthei is not the only published author in his family.

“One of my big inspirations is my grandpa, who’s also an author,” Manthei said. “My grandpa wrote a lot of fiction books, but they’re not graphic novels like mine.”

Another thing that Manthei took inspiration from was the popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series by Jeff Kinney, who has sold more than 250 million copies of the young adult series.

The idea for Manthei’s book hit him when he was brainstorming with his family.

“I was on a walk one time with my family and we were just discussing ideas, and it just kind of came to me,” Manthei said. “It’s similar to where the most famous ideas come from. The idea will just hit someone on the head and they’re like, ‘That’s perfect!’”

Manthei’s father helped Teddy come up with the main character.

“Me and my dad were discussing fictional character ideas and he goes ‘What about a mailman?’ and I said ‘Yeah!’” Manthei said. “Then I got to working on ideas and writing things on paper. There were early versions, but I eventually came to what’s final today.”

The writing process took a little less than half a year, Manthei said, but it was not always smooth sailing.

“I ran into a lot of moments of doubt and writer’s block, but I took breaks and eventually stuff came to me,” Manthei said.

Something that motivated Manthei to write his book was his passion for writing and the money he’d get from it.

When it came to publishing his book, Manthei said it was a bit of a difficult process. However, he had the guidance of his grandpa and the help of his parents.

“My grandpa told me about the website he used to publish his book, so I went to that website,” Manthei said. “It’s called KDP, or Kindle Direct Publishing. He helped me use the website, and my parents also helped a bit with the complicated stuff. It was a bit difficult because there was a lot of financial stuff to take care of like taxes and bank accounts to take care of, but my parents helped me out, so it wasn’t too bad.”

Once his book got published, Manthei said he felt exhilarated. Manthei is considering writing a sequel for his book in the future – without spoiling too much, he already has a concept.

“The antagonists from the first book would try to seek revenge on O’lane for busting them and sending them to jail,” Manthei said.

Transition paraprofessional Gina Pierce happened to find out about Manthei’s book when having a conversation with him about what he wants to do for a living.

“He just so happened to mention that he wrote a book, and that he also published and edited it,” Pierce said. “I thought that was really awesome. We started talking about it and he told me about his book.”

Pierce talked to her coworkers about Manthei’s book, and together they decided to purchase a copy of “O’Lane the Mailman.”

“After talking to him, I went and looked it up on Amazon and told my coworker [Teresa Hughes],” Pierce said. “We got together and decided to buy a book because we had a student here who has done this. We all purchased a book and decided to get him to sign our books.”

Then, Pierce and her coworkers decided to throw Manthei a signing party.

“We brought him into our office and he was surprised – he didn’t know and understand what was happening,” Pierce said. “Then we got him to sign our books and we took pictures, and I bought doughnuts. He was so shocked and surprised that we all took the effort to purchase his book and support him in this way.”

Campus instructional coach Teresa Hughes says that being able to celebrate Manthei was a special experience.

“First of all, he’s a freshman and to identify a freshman who has not only written a book but also published it himself is such a big thing,” Hughes said. “To be able to meet him, bring him in, and celebrate his success and this grand accomplishment was an honor. It was also very compelling to see his genuine, authentic reaction to all of this. He was very moved by the attention and recognition he got. It was very special.”

One of the things that struck Hughes was the reason Manthei was so passionate about telling his story.

“When I talked to Teddy and asked him why he wrote his story and if it was a real story, he said ‘No, but this story had to be told because it was about a person making an ethical decision and valued judgment,’’ Hughes said. “Teddy was most passionate about that.”

For Hughes, being able to recognize the accomplishments of students like she did with Manthei is very important.

“The key is identifying [the students]. We stumbled upon [Manthei’s book] and it was an amazing discovery. It is so vital that when kids are excelling and going above and beyond and succeeding that we celebrate it, acknowledge it, and recognize it,” Hughes said. “We have to let them know that their hard work and efforts have paid off and there’s more great things to come.”

Manthei’s grandfather inspired him to write his book, and now Manthei is inspiring others, too.

“I’ve had some thoughts about publishing my own book, and when I talked to Teddy, it made me think ‘Wow, if he did it, so can I,'” Pierce said.

O’Lane the Mailman is available to purchase on Amazon.