Thomas College senior Caleb Gorey has now written not one, not two, but three self-published books.

The 21-year-old Auburn native recently released his third book, “The Dark Party.” He’s also a fraternity president, former multi-sport collegiate athlete and aspiring artist.

“I don’t know how to describe myself. I guess a jack-of-all-trades,” Gorey said. “I’ve got my feet in a lot of bodies of water.”

An entrepreneurship major expecting to graduate a semester early in December, Gorey serves as Thomas College’s Kappa Delta Phi Fraternity Chapter president. In addition to his writing, Gorey played one season on the soccer team and managed the lacrosse team as a freshman and played as a sophomore. Gorey recently secured a position at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston as a public safety attendant and hopes to work his way up through the ranks and into an administrative position at the hospital.

Caleb Gorey (9) played one season of soccer at Thomas College. Courtesy of Caleb Gorey.

Gorey started writing short stories in elementary school, and he wrote a 70-page book in third grade.

Nicki Fongemie, Gorey’s mother, recalls her son using his imagination for writing projects early in elementary school. He also took up a love for drawing, which can be seen in some of his books.

“He really just took to writing in general and being creative with his writing,” Fongemie said. “As soon as he learned how to write, he took off. … I’m super proud of him. I’m just really hoping he continues and doesn’t lose the love he has for it.”

Gorey published his first work, “The Grand: Poetry Collection,” in July 2017 as a junior in high school. It took six months to write. He released his first novel and second major project, the 434-page realistic fiction novel “Dogwood,” in October 2020. He wrote it in first person during the summer after his senior year at Edward Little High School and then rewrote it in the summer of 2020 to change it to third person. He released “The Dark Party,” another work of fictional poetry, in March 2021.

“It’s not my goal to be an author. I have other goals, like being a business executive,” Gorey said. “It’s just a hobby, but I have a roadmap of all the books I want to write.”

Thomas College student and author Caleb Gorey in his dorm room at Thomas College in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Mike Davis is one of Gorey’s biggest supporters. The principal at Walton Elementary School in Auburn and Gorey’s elementary school music teacher, Davis nominated him to go to Tim Hortons Foundation Camps, a leadership development organization that supports youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“He was definitely a standout, and we had to think of kids who may have never gotten that opportunity,” Davis said. “At that age, you could start to see who were the potential leaders and he was a potential leader. … To see and have a copy of his book, to think that he’s already a published author, it’s really a cool thing.”

Those four separate two-week visits to the Canada-based camps during high school, two in Ontario and two in Manitoba, inspired Gorey’s desire to write for an audience. The subjects of the books he wrote came from those trips, camps Gorey kept getting invited back to.

“In my head, it kind of seemed like a movie, like I was in a movie a bit,” Gorey said. “The way I was seeing things, it just felt very cinematic. The visual aspect of everything kind of enlightened me, I guess.”

Shawn Rice taught Gorey when he was a senior in an honors art course at Edward Little High School. Rice said Gorey, who chose to focus on painting at the time, was one of the “standout” students during Rice’s 18 years as a teacher.

“Caleb was incredibly philosophical in nature, so I always thought of him as more of a storyteller in general than just a painter,” Rice said. “He was always just interested in narratives, no matter the platform.”

Gorey has 12 books mapped out including the three he has already written. A few poetry books are in the works, a handful of nonfiction novels and two more follow up novels to what he anticipates will be a Dogwood trilogy.

Gorey’s best writing comes late at night, with writing sessions going from about 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. during the school year. Summer writing is done in short spurts throughout the day.

Gorey does all the writing, editing and publishing, save for a few peer edits from friends and family. He designs the front and back covers of his books. He hopes to monetize his writing for a steady flow of supplemental income. Gorey sells his books through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. His only expenses are the cost of printing taken out of the income when people buy the book.

“People just buy them from Amazon and they print on demand,” Gorey said. “There’s not like an inventory of them. It’s the most cost efficient thing for me.”

Advertising for his books through social media accounts, Gorey plans on looking into advertising campaigns through Kindle and Amazon or other avenues.

 

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“The Dark Party,” Gorey’s most recent book, tells a single story through poetry, short stories and illustrations. The story is about a wealthy young man who spends his money on parties, drugs and alcohol. The man realizes that he’s distanced himself from his family and a girl he loves, and wishes to regain a better connection with his family.

Gorey does not expect his most recent work to elicit a specific response, but rather an interpretation based on the individual reader’s experience.

“That’s how I feel people will appreciate a book the most is if they’re able to draw their own conclusions,” Gorey said.

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