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Move over, J.K. Rowling.
A 14-year-old Williamstown teen recently became a published author when her short story was chosen from more than 800 submitted to be in a book.
Carly Middleton, who will be a freshman at Williamstown High School, is one of 50 young writers from fifth to 10th grade showcased in
“Your Stories: Volume 1” by teenage author Taylor Joseph.
She is the daughter of Greg and Misty Middleton.
“I was excited,” Middleton said about being selected. “It’s kind of cool to be published at my age.”
“It may be something that when I’m 90 years old, I can pull it out and say, ‘Hey grandkids, look at this,’” she said.
The 17-page story “Stuck In My Own Skin” took about three to four months for Middleton to complete.
The hardest part was coming up with the idea for her first-ever short story, she said.
“I wrote it around Halloween time,” Middleton said. “It’s about this girl and they have this Halloween ball. She wants to pick out the best costume and win the contest. She’s not very popular and she wants to beat the popular girl that wins every year.”
The book was released June 14 and is available at Amazon’s website.
While Middleton is still waiting for her copies in the mail, she has downloaded the book on her Kindle.
“It’s kind of surreal to think that my name’s actually in the book,” she said. “When the print book comes in the mail, it will be even more surreal.”
The journey to get published started in April 2011 when Williamstown Jr. High teacher Kasey Kennedy arranged for 19-year-old Michigan author Taylor Joseph to speak to the middle school students.
“Last year, I had a pretty big group of students who were really good writers,” said Kennedy, who taught Middleton in sixth and seventh grades. “So, part of it was some confidence building for them. Here was a girl who was a senior in high school who had already published several books. I hoped it would light a spark in them. With Carly, it worked. She has really done well.”
Joseph published her first book, “The Crossing,” at age 15 and has published eight books in her young career.
She visited 135 schools across the country, speaking about her publishing experiences and collecting more than 800 stories from students to publish in a book.
Kennedy met with her student occasionally during lunch to read the latest draft and give any tips she could offer.
“Out of everybody, Carly took a really big interest in it,” Kennedy said. “She stayed after school with me and we worked on it. There were days when she would hurry up to try to get things finished as quickly as she possibly could so she could have some one-on-one time with me to try to perfect it the way she wanted it. The story was really good. She’s very creative.”
When Joseph visited the school, Middleton was able to hand the story to her personally for consideration.
She found out she was selected in June 2011, but was not notified until April 2012 that she was going to be included in the first of the two volumes of “Your Stories” publications.
“As a teacher, to see her reach her goal and get excited about it was great,” Kennedy said. “I think it’s given her a lot of confidence. She is just very driven.”
Other than her teacher and her family, Middleton kept her newfound success a secret until recently.
“I told my friends the last day of school,” she said. “They were excited for me.”
While she is not sure if sees herself as an aspiring author, writing is something Middleton wants to continue.
“I like writing,” she said. “I like how I can express my personality and I’m able to write my feelings. I want to be a teacher, but I would always write. It’s definitely boosted my confidence. My teachers have always said that I had a good writing voice and use personality. So, it’s nice to see that come through.”
For more information about “Your Stories: Volume 1,” go to www.amazon.com.