Pyschologist-turned-author pens 'Marble Wars' sci-fi trilogy – Brainerd Dispatch

Brainerd lakes area psychologist Kevin J. Edwards hasn't lost his marbles. In fact, he wants to share them.
He self-published a trilogy of fantasy books about marbles and talked about it recently with a Staples-Motley Elementary School classroom to encourage children to share their own stories.
"I want to build young children's reading skills by exposing them to short or easy-to-read materials,” Edwards said Wednesday, Nov. 24, about his presentation to the third-grade classroom.

A third-grade classroom at Staples-Motley Elementary School listens as Kevin J. Edwards, a psychologist at Northern Pines Mental Health Center in Brainerd, talks to the students virtually about his trilogy of children's fantasy books. Contributed / Staples-Motley Elementary School
A third-grade classroom at Staples-Motley Elementary School listens as Kevin J. Edwards, a psychologist at Northern Pines Mental Health Center in Brainerd, talks to the students virtually about his trilogy of children's fantasy books. Contributed / Staples-Motley Elementary School

The “Marble Wars” trilogy is based on his childhood experiences with the old-fashioned playthings he would often find among garage sale items his mom bought in Fairmont.
“She would bring me boxes of toys, which in those days often included some marbles rolling around in the bottom of the box,” Edwards said of his mother Lois. “Certain sets of marbles became ‘the good marbles’ with special abilities and others became ‘the villain marbles.’”

Children's fantasy author Kevin Edwards displays the trilogy of books he has published. His books are designed to encourage young readers to tell their own stories in print.  Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Children's fantasy author Kevin Edwards displays the trilogy of books he has published. His books are designed to encourage young readers to tell their own stories in print. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The children’s author combined the playground game of freeze tag with playing marbles. There is a good or a bad side battling for “Marble World” by freezing their opponents.
“Unlike freeze tag, my marble people use ‘freezing blades’ to freeze each other … so freezing allows for the revitalization for characters to get back in the action,” Edwards explained.

Children's fantasy author Kevin Edwards reads from one of the new books in his trilogy Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2021, in the library at his Brainerd home.  Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Children's fantasy author Kevin Edwards reads from one of the new books in his trilogy Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2021, in the library at his Brainerd home. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

His father Don built a toy wooden red barn when Edwards was a child with a green roof that opened up and made a good marble fortress base for the imaginative child-turned-author.
“In my written story of ‘Marble Wars,’ Marbleman and his brother, Ironstone, begin their heroes’ journey at a barn (which I imagine like my toy barn dad built) to become the most famous warriors in all of Marble World,” Edwards said.


“There are all sorts of talented people and help in our area.”

— Kevin J. Edwards, children’s author and psychologist


“There are all sorts of talented people and help in our area.”

— Kevin J. Edwards, children’s author and psychologist

Though Edwards works at Northern Pines Mental Health Center in Brainerd as an adult, he attended free writing seminars and meet-the-author events at the Brainerd Public Library. He said he became motivated to draft his “Marble Wars” series of children’s books.
“I still needed more help to fix my story, so I turned to our local Five Wings Arts Council who supported me previously on another artistic adventure in making short videos about local street rodders and their cars,” said Edwards, a Brainerd resident.

Children's fantasy author Kevin Edwards talks about one of his books Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2021, at his home in Brainerd. Edwards, a psychologist with Northern Pines Mental Health Center, hopes to encourage young readers to tell their own stories in print.  Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Children's fantasy author Kevin Edwards talks about one of his books Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2021, at his home in Brainerd. Edwards, a psychologist with Northern Pines Mental Health Center, hopes to encourage young readers to tell their own stories in print. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Edwards said he developed an individualized writing mentorship with central Minnesota author Carissa Andrews, whom he met at one of the free writing classes at the library. The council provided a one-time grant in the amount of $2,500 pay for his mentorship with Andrews.
“To my delight, she is a fantasy, sci-fi kind of gal and really understood my story — she got it,” Edwards said of their weekly virtual Zoom meetings during the pandemic. “She taught me how to change the tone of my writing. … It was both a hard and a fun writing experience.”


“I want to build young children’s reading skills by exposing them to short or easy-to-read materials.”

— Kevin J. Edwards of Northern Pines Mental Health Center in Brainerd


“I want to build young children’s reading skills by exposing them to short or easy-to-read materials.”

— Kevin J. Edwards of Northern Pines Mental Health Center in Brainerd

The 62-year-old husband and father of five sought feedback from friends, family and neighbors even though he self-published a picture book years ago called “What Will I Be?” about animals and occupations.
“All my children at home, Ben, Joe and Gabriel, would joke with me during the writing process … but Ben took interest, or maybe it was pity on me, as he gave the whole story another review for the flow of content and errors,” Edwards said.


““I really don’t see it as a money-making venture for me. It’s just that I like being creative.”

— Kevin J. Edwards, author of the “Marble Wars” trilogy


““I really don’t see it as a money-making venture for me. It’s just that I like being creative.”

— Kevin J. Edwards, author of the “Marble Wars” trilogy

The fantasy series published this year and available on Amazon.com includes “Marble Wars: The World Beneath,” “Marble Wars: Granite Death Halls” and “Marble Wars: Battle for Marbleutopia.”
“I really don't see it as a money-making venture for me. It's just that I like being creative. And I like reaching out to people and telling stories through different mediums and so it's just kind of a creative release for me,” Edwards said.

Licensed psychologist Kevin J. Edwards talks via Zoom to a Staples-Motley Elementary School third-grade classroom earlier this month about his "Marble Wars" trilogy of children's fantasy books. Contributed / Staples-Motley Elementary School
Licensed psychologist Kevin J. Edwards talks via Zoom to a Staples-Motley Elementary School third-grade classroom earlier this month about his "Marble Wars" trilogy of children's fantasy books. Contributed / Staples-Motley Elementary School

Edwards spoke to students at Staples-Motley Elementary School via Zoom earlier this month about his “Marble Wars” trilogy and encouraged them to be writers through his example.
“I told the kids that I was young like them when I came up with my story and encouraged that all of us living in rural Minnesota can find opportunities to express our artistic visions,” Edwards said.

Children's fantasy author Kevin Edwards reads from one of his new books in his library Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at his Brainerd home. The psychologist has written a trilogy of new books that are designed for children. His goal is to encourage children to tell their own stories in print.  Steve Kohls / Brained Dispatch
Children's fantasy author Kevin Edwards reads from one of his new books in his library Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at his Brainerd home. The psychologist has written a trilogy of new books that are designed for children. His goal is to encourage children to tell their own stories in print. Steve Kohls / Brained Dispatch

The Minnesota State Arts Board provided Edwards with a one-time grant in the amount of $6,000 for what he hopes was the first of many more discussions with students at other schools.
“You don't realize, you know, that there are opportunities here,” Edwards said of the Brainerd lakes area. “There's a lot of resources here, there's help here, there's a lot of good creative people here. … There are all sorts of talented people and help in our area.”


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