Diabetes Forecast

College Student Writes Fantasy Fiction and Raises Funds for Diabetes Groups

By Lindsey Wahowiak ,

To buy The Silver Talon and designate a portion of the proceeds for the ADA, visit thesilvertalon.com
and click on "Make Your Book Purchase Count." Select the American Diabetes Association from the drop-down menu.

Anthony "A.J." Cunder juggles more than your average college sophomore: The Seton Hall University student balances taking honors classes, practicing martial arts and swordplay, volunteering as a firefighter, managing his type 1 diabetes, and touring to promote his first novel while writing a second one.

Cunder, 18, is the author of The Silver Talon, the first in a planned series of novels about dragons, swordfights, and a mythical world called Farahdin. A lifelong fan of the fantasy genre, Cunder uses it as an escape from his busy daily life.

"I was always a big fantasy reader when I was young, [but] I never really planned on writing a book," he says. "I just had this idea for a scene, a fantasy scene with a black-cloaked figure in a room at an inn. [I] started jotting down notes in a notebook. . . . From there, it basically went page by page" until The Silver Talon was complete at 476 pages.

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 18 months old, Cunder has spent years balancing diet, exercise, insulin treatment, and stress management, making him more than ready to roll with the highs and lows of writing, editing, and promoting The Silver Talon. "I'm glad I was diagnosed so young, because it's the lifestyle I grew up with," he says. "It wasn't that big a deal."

Cunder doesn't manage his diabetes without help, though. His diabetes care team includes his parents; his physician, Harold Starkman, MD, an endocrinologist in Morristown, N.J.; and the American Diabetes Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and other organizations.

Cunder decided to give back by publishing The Silver Talon through AuthorHouse, which helps him donate a portion of the proceeds to his favorite organizations. Cunder also did a book signing at an ADA event in New Brunswick, N.J. Mathieu Nelessen, executive director of the Northern New Jersey branch of the ADA, says he has been impressed with the young author.

"Anthony is incredibly humble, and his hard-work mentality has laid the foundation for him to achieve all of his ambitions," Nelessen says. "Even more impressive is that fact that he can do all of this great stuff while managing his diabetes impeccably."

For Cunder, supporting the ADA and other diabetes organizations makes perfect sense. "All these organizations really do a good job of . . . making life easier," he says. "If they can find a cure . . . that would be really great for everybody with diabetes."



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