Not too many teenagers become published authors before graduating from high school.
Richmond Hill Grade 11 students Brittany Watson and Nikta Sadati along with England-based Blaze Earl are the exception.
They co-authored a juvenile fiction – A Long Way to Go: The Journey Never Ends – that was launched last week at St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School where Watson and Sadati are enrolled.
The 491-page book, which has 77 chapters, tells the story of a talented 17-year-old aspiring musician who is abused by her dad while residing in England. When the family moves to Jacksonville, Florida, the girl is still haunted by the past as she strives to follow her dreams.
“Teens and young adults can relate to this story because it addresses such things as bullying, body image and eating disorders which some of them encounter in high school,” said Watson who conceived the idea for the book. “This publication also shows that young people can choose their own environment and surround themselves with people who care about them and love them despite the fact that they may find themselves trapped in certain unhealthy and negative situations.”
Watson, who migrated with her family from Jamaica at age three, started the project when she was in Grade Eight.
“My mom is always encouraging me to read and I figure that was how my love for writing emerged,” said the 16-year-old.
Watson and Earl – who is also of Jamaican heritage – started writing the book on a website club discussion forum. A year into the project with 45 chapters completed, schoolwork and activities along with time difference forced 14-year-old Earl, who has never been to Canada, to cease writing.
Over the next 12 months, Watson wrote alone on Wattpad, the world’s largest community for discovering and sharing stories, until she met Sadati in Grade Nine.
“We were in the same vocal class and I also have a passion for writing,” said Sadati who was born in Canada to Iranian immigrant parents. “Brittany allowed me to read what she wrote and during sleepovers at her home, we would stay up late at night and share ideas.”
The high school friends completed the project last summer.
“Through this book, we hope young people will learn how to follow their dreams and not to be afraid of failures and things that hurt,” said Sadati who aspires to be an English professor and part-time writer.
Watson intends to become a performing artist.
“In addition to writing, I want to get into drama, acting and singing,” she said.
The book is available in hardcover, softcover and e-book formats and the prices range from $34.99 for a hardcover copy to $3.99 for an e-book version.
Copies can be secured through amazon.ca or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.