In her debut fiction novel, Mark of the Pteranodon–Rise of the Chosen One, Mitzi Scotten, M.D., associate professor of clinical specialties at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University (NYITCOM-Arkansas), tells a powerful story of mythic Hawaiian creatures and one boy’s journey to find his true purpose.
Scotten’s novel begins 60 million years ago when Pteranodons, the largest flying reptiles during the age of dinosaurs, ruled the skies. But in the present day, 12-year-old Kai Kalua knows the world’s best-kept secret—Pteranodons never really went extinct.
Guided by an unlikely animal duo, Kai will set out on an epic journey, including mysterious dreams and mastering the magic of two ancient relics. Leading the giant, man-eating Pteranodons will be easy; Kai is more concerned with the impossible task of fitting into middle school.
From their first encounters, Pteranodons terrorized humans, and only the bravest Hawaiian would dare create a truce with the prehistoric man-eaters. Their new, clueless leader is Kai, and he has been challenged with one mystery after another. Why did his parents abandon him? What does it mean to be “the Chosen One”? Who are his enemies? And most importantly, how is he going to survive middle school?
These questions will be answered in Kai’s dreams and by his pets, a dog genius named Hiwa, and Rosie, a red-footed tortoise with GPS capabilities. Also assisting Kai’s quest are his eccentric Hawaiian ohana (family) and the mysteriously acquired magical ancient scroll and electrifying stone.
“This novel began the day I was born as I have come to realize that it is more an autobiography than a work of fiction,” says Scotten. “I can certainly identify with Kai. I know how it feels to be ostracized for being too studious and having more patience with animals than people.”
Scotten, who has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), says she typically struggles with completing projects, so finishing her debut novel was a personal challenge she made for herself. Mixing her favorite topics, dinosaurs, animals, and Maui, was easier than she expected, and using her own pets as literary muses aided her creative process.
The central location for the novel, Lahaina, on the island of Maui, experienced a real-world tragedy as it burned to the ground on August 8, 2023. Mark of the Pteranodon was in the final stages of publication during this time, and Scotten dedicated her book to the people of Maui. She also committed to donating 100 percent of all proceeds from the book’s first edition directly to the people of Lahaina.