Student's adventure story goes to print
It started in English class, and now it’s made its way to Amazon.com, and on the bookshelves in the Rosemount Middle School library.
Last November, RMS teacher Genesis Alexander assigned her students to participate in National Novel Writing Month, a movement that encourages people to put pen to paper — or fingers to keyboard — and turn their dreams of becoming authors into reality.
So, Julia Simms participated. Over the course of the month she wrote a story about three unlikely friends, a few horses and an adventure in Italy. She called it The Prophecy of Three, and when she turned it in she got an enthusiastic response.
“I gave 1,000 words to my teacher to grade, and she said, ‘This is amazing,’” said Simms, an eighth grader.
Alexander encouraged Simms to keep writing and turn the story into a full-length book. Now, she has.
At 20,000 words, The Prophecy of Three isn’t a thick novel, but for Simms it’s provided an adventure as interesting as the one on which she sends her characters. With some help from her father she had to negotiate the publishing world. And like any accomplished author, she had to learn how to negotiate for a little extra time on a deadline.
“I used my sweet voice,” she said.
The Prophecy of Three is Simms’ first attempt at writing a novel, but she’s been an avid reader for years. She enjoys everything from Harry Potter to James Patterson.
“I don’t really like the vampire stuff that most teens are interested in,” she said. “It’s kind of weird.”
The idea for the story came to her while she was lying in bed. The Prophecy of Three focuses on a boy named Hayden whose father seems to have mapped out his whole life already. Hayden loves horses, but his father won’t allow him to have one around.
Eventually, Hayden meets two other kids and the mismatched trio sets off on an adventure — a “quest for freedom,” Simms calls it — that takes them to Italy.
There were challenges along the way for Simms. She liked that she could put pieces of herself into each of her characters, but she struggled sometimes to make each of them feel like individuals.
While the writing mostly came easily, working through the technical details of the publishing process was sometimes difficult.
She worked it all out, though, and now Simms has the distinction of being a published author. As of two weeks ago, she had sold 35 paperback copies of the book on Amazon. She recently received a check for $107, her share of the profits.
The media specialist at RMS plans to buy a copy for the school’s collection.
“It’s kind of weird,” Simms said. “I never thought I’d be on the cover of a book.”