For many high school students, the dreaded two thousand word essay seems like a lot of writing. For 17-year-old Samantha Rae of Clifford, that much scribbling is just a beginning, or rather a New Beginning.
New Beginning is the title of Rae’s first published work, a mystery novel about a teenage girl who has just moved to the small town of Silver Stakes from Los Angeles. On her first day at Twiddle High, she immediately catches the eye of Cole, and earns the ire of Rebekah, the most popular girl in school. When she passes by the Twiddle building, she sees a humanlike figure in the trees that jumps over the wall. Curious, she attempts to follow but finds the gate locked. When she asks her friends about it, they clam up, piquing her interest even more. As readers follow the twisting trail of clues and danger, they will discover that even a small town can hide not just one but many secrets.
For Rae, who concedes she had little interest in writing before beginning the project, the book began as an assignment to write short story for her Grade 10 English class. After that, “The ideas just kept coming, so it just sort of escalated,” she explains.
Samantha completed New Beginning on her 16th birthday. Now 17 and in Grade 12, she is working on the fifth of what she sees as series of six books.
When attempts to find a literary agent for her novel didn’t work out, the enterprising teen decided to self-publish the book through a US company, which provided editing services and promotional support, as well as printing the book. Through her own marketing efforts, she arranged for the novel to be on shelves locally at Millennia Books in Hanover and Stewart’s Pharmacy in Mildmay. It’s also available through Facebook page and online at www.exlibris.com and amazon.com.
Around the time she began writing the book, Samantha was just becoming an avid reader of popular fiction such as Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. However, Samantha’s Twiddle series is no clone of such epics.
“I noticed that with a lot of these series, they were all the same in some ways. I tried to go with something different,” she states.
How different? That’s for readers to decide, starting with the following excerpt:
The bear took a couple of steps away from the twitching remains of the body and dug its claws into the dirt as it loped toward me. I knew I should turn and try to run for my life as fast as I could, but I was paralyzed. The animal halted a few feet away. I could smell and see the fresh blood dripping from its sharp canines in its slightly open mouth. The animal leaned back as it bore its long nails into the grass, tearing up the dirt and leaving the ground beneath it bare.
I knew exactly what was going to happen to me next. The animal was going to attack with its claws and teeth. I was going to die. It was as simple as that. With a final helpless mental plea to my legs, though an unsuccessful one, the animal pulled his bloodstained lips back from his teeth before he lunged at my head. Once I saw the back legs leave the ground, adrenaline surged through my veins. Right away, I raised my arms to shield my face, but I wasn’t quick enough before the bear made contact.
What’s next? Sorry – that would be spoiling.