Visual arts teacher self-publishes book

Jivani Gengatharan

Visual arts teacher Kevin O’Malley’s first novel, “The Difference in the Game,” was published on iTunes as an iBook on Oct. 25.
The book outlines the life of a teenager who faces difficulties as the only girl in what is meant to be a co-ed basketball team. She befriends a 26-year- old woman who also struggles on her new basketball team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
O’Malley originally wrote his ideas out as a screenplay about six years ago, inspired by his daughter’s basketball games. He was also inspired from teaching at Westlake School for Girls for 13 years.
“That place was a true hot-bed of feminist thought,” O’Malley said. “I’d like to think that this is a feminist book.”
Because he felt restrained by the inability to add adjectives in a script with only dialogues, he decided to turn his script into a novel. Over the course of a year, his 120 page script expanded into a 250 page novel. After editing it several times, O’Malley created the 189 page book that is now on iTunes.
After he heard that Apple was introducing iBook Author, a free application that designs and publishes books, O’Malley spent this past summer re-writing and adding 33 original illustrations to his novel. The illustrations were created by applying a combination of filters in Photoshop to collaged photos of basketball courts that he had taken in the past decade.
“I still have aspirations of getting a contract for one of those ‘dead tree’ books but it’s not keeping me up at nights, he said. “I actually like the idea of having a completely digital work.”
O’Malley chose to publish his book digitally because the illustrations would look exactly the way he wanted them to look on an iPad. The chances of the illustrations looking the way he wanted them to were not as high with paperback books.
After finishing his first iBook, he said he feels “relieved, exhausted and more than a little exuberant.”
O’Malley is also considering the possibility of having his senior students publish their own book of photographs using iBook Author.