Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bay Point Middle student is published writer at 12


The 12-year-old author prefers to create in spiral-bound notebooks with Crayola crayons and ballpoint pens when he weaves his tales of animated clocks and adventurous holiday mascots. • No computer, no tablet, no electronics. Oh, and the pens should be black, not blue.

The idea for Mr. Tickety-Toc Clock, a sleep-deprived, red twin-bell style alarm, came to sixth-grader Davon Miller during the final minutes of a prolonged school day.

"Nobody's ever written about a living clock before," he thought to himself, watching the second hand tick closer to freedom.

He rushed home and put his ideas on paper.

"In my mind I tell stories," the shy, soft-spoken 12-year-old said. He bases his tales on his favorites, like Madagascar and Shrek.

"Right now, I really like Frozen," Davon said.

Sandra and Dewitt Miller had watched their son immerse himself in stories since he was a toddler. He'd hoard notebooks intended for relatives in Jamaica and fill the pages with characters from his imagination, but even they were impressed by this book, titled Mr. Tickety-Toc Clock: Goodnight Mr. Clock. With some encouragement from a substitute teacher at Bay Point Middle School, they found an editor, Vernard McKenny, and dreamed of seeing their son's work published.

McKenny had never worked with a young author before and said Davon's book was so long he had to convince the reluctant then-11-year-old to divide the story line into three books. Clock Worker David and Travel to Washington will come next, McKenny said.

"He can have at least four to five more sequels just based off the first draft," McKenny said. "His thought process and the story line is really great."

Once the edits were made, the Millers decided to print the book through an online publisher, Create Space. About a week later, a package arrived on the front steps of their pale yellow one-story home in St. Petersburg. Inside were 150 copies of the 26-page book.

Davon wasn't fazed, his parents said. He finished his after-school bowl of cereal (it's usually Cinnamon Toast Crunch), before retrieving a shiny copy.

It's a little bit embarrassing, Davon says, when his parents dote on his accomplishments or adults from church congratulate him. But he likes the attention, too, especially when friends from school ask to see his drawings.

Once, a classmate said Davon inspired her to create her own stories.

Vickie Olson, his sixth-grade advanced reading teacher, said she didn't even know Davon was publishing his book until his mother told her.

"He was very humble," Olson said. "It was kind of almost like it was not big deal, like it was just something he does."

Davon is an honors student, has never missed a spelling word, and often wakes up hours before school starts to practice his trumpet, much to his father's dismay. While other kids "talk and play around" during free time at school, he said, he's often drawing or writing.

When he grows up, he wants to be an author and an actor.

"He's definitely one who will do what he sets his mind to," Olson said.

His bedroom at home is his studio — "Picture Novels Studios," he has dubbed it. On the walls are lists for book ideas and under his desk are boxes filled with his favorite novels and drafts of stories he has written.

Davon has done two book signings — one at the South Branch Library and a second at his church. Paperback copies are for sale on Amazon for $8.95. His parents said he has sold at least 100 books so far.

The royalties, his father said, will go toward Davon's college fund.

"I'm just so proud of him," his mother, Sandra, said. "Davon is just a blessing from God."

Contact Katie Mettler at or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kemettler.

Bay Point Middle student is published writer at 12 07/04/14 [Last modified: Friday, July 4, 2014 4:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick Friday night in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  2. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  3. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  4. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101