Chad Merkley, 13, Chrysalis School, eighth grade

Hitting the books, again: The Snohomish resident made his name known five years ago when he won a writing contest and got his children’s book "Too Many Me’s" published. He’s at it again, trying to find a publisher for his new children’s novel about a kid who lives in a broken down part of Germany during World War II.

In the music biz: Chad has started a piano business and plays shows throughout the area. He has a regular gig at the Mill Creek Country Club on Friday nights. State labor laws forced him to start the business. "It turned out, because I was underage, I couldn’t officially work on the payroll unless I was a private contractor," Chad said.

Bringing it to the masses: Chad’s music can be heard on his Web site, He’s released two CDs, featuring some of his own arrangements and contemporary songs. His favorite pianists include Jim Brickman, George Winston and Billy Joel.

Active kid: When he’s not at the piano, Chad plays tennis, goes skiing, rides his bike around the neighborhood and hangs out with friends. He loves Chinese food and his favorite stop is the Peking Duck in Snohomish.

Too much on his plate? "Yeah, I try to relax in between all the hyped-up stuff," he said. "Playing the piano is really relaxing to me."

Hollywood-bound?: Chad wants to go to college somewhere in California "or someplace hot, at least. My ideal place would be UCLA," he said.

Great expectations: "In the future, I hope I can write a best-selling novel," he said. "I hope it gets made into a movie. I hope I can act in the movie, and I hope I have enough talent in me left to compose the score for the movie."

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