How to become an author at age 15!
At age 15, most of the teenage girls are busy reading love stories and dreaming of their first charming prince. Unlike other teens, Marlene chose to try something very challenging: write her own novel! After five years of hard work, her dream has become a tangible reality. “Mind Wanderer”, Marlene Kanmogne’s novel has just been published! In the following interview, she tells us about her famous adventure as young author!
Who is Marlene Kanmogne?
A: My name is Marlene Kanmogne and I am a 20-year-old female attending Johns Hopkins University. I was born in Bristol, England but spent some of my childhood in Cameroon, which is where I am from. As of now I live in Omaha, Nebraska with my parents. I am a full time student, but do work in a Research lab at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
How did you get the idea to write a book?
The summer of my sophomore year of high-school I had a very vivid dream. Once I awoke I had the urge to make sure not to lose the dream. When you add that to the fact that I grew up in a household that truly valued education and insisted that reading was to be done weekly and accompanied by a short summary, you get a summer of writing.
At what point precisely did you start writing?
I have been writing for as long as I could remember. In terms of the book itself, I started it the summer of my sophomore year of high-school when I was 15.
After the dream that sparked the book as you said, how did you manage to build a story for a whole book?
Beside the dream, I would classify my inspiration as one of more vivid dreams where I could not only see the action, but also get a sense of the characters and be immersed in intense dialogue. Afterwards inspiration came from life around me. Some of my friends and their personas found their way into the book, and even parts of my personality began to leak onto the pages. Overall my story was inspired by a dream but became a reality through real life experiences and life lessons I have learned growing up.
As a student, how did you juggle to keep up with your studies and your writing activities at the same time.
Overall I would say the process was definitely extensive. From previous questions you can see that overall the project took me several years.
Writing was difficult, exhilarating, and mainly occurred over the summer months. As for the process, I tended to write more organically. I would grab a pen and paper and just start to imagine scenes in my mind. Everything I put to paper was first a movie in my own mind, with characters, emotions, dialogue, and setting. On the outside what you would see is a young girl writing about 10-15 pages front and back on notebook paper. I would sit and write for hours, passing my summer days away. Afterwards, those words would be typed onto a word document.
When the school year returned this process was slowed and most of the time completely stalled. In my mind the book was still there, and growing, but I didn’t have the time and energy to transfer my thoughts to paper. As all of this was occurring only about 5 people knew I was even writing to such an extent. These were my parents and 3 of my closest friends.
This pattern continued until the winter months of my freshman year of high-school. This was when I decided to give a harder push in my writing. I began to once again make it a daily part of my day, writing chapters instead of just a few pages. Nonetheless, college ultimately took up more of my time when the Spring Semester returned. At this point I was much father along and nearing the end of the novel in my mind (well part one anyways). Finally the next winter I pushed once more and was able to complete the novel.
It’s not easy to write, but is sometimes much harder to find a publisher. From the manuscript to the publication through the rewriting process, the research of an editor, can you tell us about your strategy?
Ultimately this was a personal project and finishing it was my way of seeking closure (I never like to start a project without finishing it). I never imagined actually getting it published. It was really the words of encouragement from my best friends, Kayla and Tope that made me even consider the hunt for a company.
Finding Solstice Publishing required some inquiring and a little bit of luck. Through search engines I researched many companies, and was mainly looking for one where I could do most of the submission and communication online. Low and behold I found Solstice, sent them the manuscript and was miraculously soon being introduced to an editor. At this point it was a partnership between the Solstice team and myself. My editor, Kathy Collier, would read and make changes to the document and then I would accept and add more changes myself. The process was very efficient and I appreciate the work they have done.
What obstacles and difficulties have you encountered in this exciting adventure?
The main obstacles were finding time during the school year to sit down, focus, and write. I had to battle with some writer’s block, and since most of my writing is organic and I don’t have a set system, I would sometimes battle with weeks of inactivity.
How did your social network react to the publication of your book?
I gained a lot of support from my social network. It was very overwhelming and the gratitude I feel for those who supported, encouraged, and congratulated me on the book is insurmountable.
You dedicated your book to your parents. Is it mimicry or there is a special reason for that?
Anyone who knows me knows that I have had, have, and will always have a special place in my heart for my father. Together we have fought to right situations that have at first seemed impossible to correct. We have promised one another to always look forward and take on any adversary that aims to hinder the family. My father is my most trusted confident, one of my best friends, and I know I would not have accomplished nearly as much as I have without him by my side.
My mother is a very strong woman who inspires me beyond compare. Her resilience is uncanny and her drive is one I hope to achieve over the course of my lifetime. My mother is one of the few who pushed me to pursue more with my book and without her I don’t believe this publication would have been possible.
Who is your target audience?
The target audience is young teenage girls, mainly those ranging from 8th grade – 10th grade.
Now that your book is available, what are your wishes?
It took a lot of time for me to become okay with a wide variety of people having access to what at first were my personal writings (nervous doesn’t even begin to cover how I felt). But now that it is out, I just wish that all those who read it enjoy the story, and maybe even want to know what happens to Melissa next.
What advice can you give to other young people who would like to follow your path to become an author?
I would say never undervalue yourself and what you can accomplish. Set your goals, and get to work. No matter how daunting a task may seem, or how much time it may require, once your mind is invested the rest will follow. Also be prepared for dips in the roads and everything not going according to plan. When it comes to writing it is great to be efficient but patience is imperative in order to create a full and satisfactory story.
We are approaching the holiday season. Some parents would like to offer your book to their children or relatives.How and where can we purchase your book?
My Publishing Company, Solstice Publishing, is giving away a Kindle Fire (electronic version)!! The book is also available in paperback through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, Smashwords and the Solstice Publishing website!