Kelsey Vaughn, 15, is anxious to get her first novel into the hands of book lovers.
After a year of editing and polishing, Vaughn’s published book, “A Distant Melody,” arrived a few weeks ago at her Meadow Vista residence.
But the Colfax High School sophomore is keeping a low profile.
“I am kind of staying low key until the book signing on Feb. 20,” she said.
The novel is the result of Vaughn’s participation in the annual National Novel Writing Month challenge. She was one of 200,000 writers who challenged themselves by writing a 50,000-word novel in one month. Of those who participated in the 2008 NaNoWriMo, Vaughn was one of the 20,000 who attained their goal.
Vaughn explained that she would have never been able to finish the entire manuscript had it not been for the looming deadline and word count.
“I also was involved in the regional group that met in Nevada City. We were able to cheer each other on,” said Vaughn who attended Live Oak Waldorf School before enrolling in Colfax High School. “Last November was my third time to attempt the 50,000 word count.”
She admits she was only able to complete the challenge by writing every day.
“This year I made an outline and had some feel for the structure,” she said. “Even when you have an outline there are a lot of surprises.”
She describes “A Distant Melody” as the first in a series.
“I love children’s books and young adult novels with fantastical aspects,” she said.
Completing the rough draft was just the beginning of the young writer’s publishing adventure.
“I had about five to eight advanced readers who helped give me feedback,” said Vaughn.
She also received support from her parents, Ken and Carol, as well as her 12-year-old brother, Clay.
“I couldn’t have done it without them,” Vaughn explained. “It was really was a family effort. My dad helped me with the editing, formatting and choosing the right publisher. My mom is handling the book sales. I was also encouraged that my younger brother, who usually reads comic books, liked it. He is now my biggest fan.”
Clay noted that his official role in the process is “Book Signing Security Officer.”
“We are so proud of her,” added her mother, Carol. “I have read it twice. She has such a natural talent. But her success doesn’t surprise me. Kelsey started reading when she was 3 and has been a voracious reader ever since.”
It was her love of books that inspired Vaughn to give her fantasy/adventure novel an out-of-the-ordinary dedication.
“I dedicated ‘A Distant Melody’ to my bookshelf — a hall of fame that displays everyone who taught me how to write,” beamed Vaughn, adding she would love to see her book made into a movie.
With “A Distant Melody” completed, Vaughn is beginning the process again with the book she wrote during last November’s challenge.
“I have been so busy getting ‘A Distant Melody’ published that I haven’t even started editing the next book,” she said.
Before delving into the world of self-publishing, Vaughn had written short stories and poetry. One of her poems, “Contradictions,” was published in “Teen Ink” magazine, while several others have appeared in their on-line edition.
“It is a great experience and you get a chance to win some freebies,” Vaughn explained. “Plus it is nice to see your work published and your name in print.”
An accomplished pianist, Vaughn is a member of the Colfax High School chamber choir.
The teen admits she drew inspiration from “A Wrinkle in Time” author Madeleine L’Engle, who said, “You must write the book you want to see written.”
“And so I did,” concurred Vaughn.
2/18/10 – by Marci Seither, Colfax Record correspondent