Robert Gennari didn’t excel in English at school. In fact, he failed … but that didn’t stop him from becoming a teacher.

His first job was teaching music and art at Flemington Primary School. He was there for almost seven years before seeking a career change.

“I ended up managing Borders bookstore, and then went into real estate,” the Caroline Springs resident says.

And despite the misgivings of his former English teacher, he’s now trying to carve out a career as a novelist.

Mr Gennari has spent the past 10 years writing his first fantasy-cum-science fiction novel

The Battle for Skeptron, the first in what he envisions as a four-part series.

After years of drafting, researching and finetuning, he self-published the book earlier this year and held a book signing at Dymocks Watergardens last month to try and generate a bit of hype. Unbeknownst to the author, he already had a fan base.

The shopping centre was forced to close off its south wing to manage the hundreds of people who lined up to have their copies signed.

“It was a little bit chaotic … a lot of people turned up on the day,” Mr Gennari said. “We ended up selling out within the first hour.”

The book tells the story of Areus’s quest to find hidden pieces of an artefact known as the Skeptron. But he soon learns he’s not the only one seeking the pieces, which can be used to take over Planet Arc.

Mr Gennari said the book draws on true life.

“The amount of research I put into it – from astronomy, archaeology, religious texts – I just wanted to have a rich palette to draw from to create my story,” he said.

Details: www.battleforskeptron.com