FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Senior year of high school is hard enough. Add in demons, a sleeping curse and an unwanted prince determined to marry you and what do you get?
A new book by a Fairfield 18-year-old.
"Thorn in My Side" by Mary Quinn, is, at its heart, a book about issues of image/expectations, high school life, and the power of friendship. But it's also about one girl's quest to fulfill a dream.
Quinn wrote the novel when she was in her sophomore year of high school after entering a writing contest called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where the only rule is to complete a 50,000-word novel by month's end.
That meant writing 1,667 words a day. A tough task between schoolwork, social life, etc. But she did it.
"You can tell when I was writing at 2 in the morning because the ideas I put down were a little wild," she said.
"It was rough but I liked the idea so I edited it for grammar and then sent it in."
Anyone who fulfills the writing requirement on the contest is basically a winner, so, once she had the book completed Quinn decided to go a step further and send a few chapters to publishing houses that specialized in Young Adult novels.
Bored of studying for midterms, she sent the manuscript to Fire and Ice on a whim. The rest, she said, was pure luck. "I didn't and I don't have an agent, but I did copyright it with the Library of Congress so that no one would scam me," she said.
The book was accepted when she was a junior which was "insanely overwhelming," especially because she didn't do much but apply to colleges and edit for the longest time.
With schoolwork, it wasn't always easy to find time to write simply for the pleasure of writing, she said. Which is why the NaNoWriMo contest ended up being a win-win.
"I loved having an excuse to put everything aside to just write," said Quinn. "I also liked the excuse of being able to tell people I was busy writing because I rarely get to write for fun anymore."
So, what's next? She's headed off to college in Massachusetts in the Fall meaning the door is wide open to any and all opportunities. Said Quinn: "I'm excited to focus on school for the next couple of years.
"I have a lot to learn."