Stanly 13-year-old publishes fantasy novel

Published 4:18 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

Identical twins, an injured owl and a magic tree weave an imaginative tale written by a young Stanly author.

Kylah Everette, the 13-year-old daughter of Jess and Robert Everette of Albemarle, recently released a book five years in the making entitled “The Purple Willow Tree.”

Kylah Everette

Everette, who is homeschooled by her parents, said the book idea started one day while outside playing. Two sticks, she added, turned into a game which became the basis for the story.

“I ran inside, literally yelling, ‘Don’t forget! Don’t forget! Don’t forget!’ ” Kylah said.

She started grabbing paper and a stapler, put together a makeshift book and started the story.

Kylah said she moved the story to a set of notebooks and was writing the story out by hand before her mother showed her Google Docs.

She said her influences for the story included “Harry Potter,” the “Magic School Bus” television series and the “Boxcar Children” mystery series.

An enormous influence to the story, she added, was the Eragon series, also called the Inheritance Cycle, which was written by Christopher Paolini when he was a 15-year-old homeschooler.

In the story, 13-year-old Jack Darby, his twin sister Olivia, and a magical book lead to a new school and a mythical adventure. The pair live in a ramshackle shack with their mother and father.

Many of the characters were based on Kylah and her family, she said, adding her mother and cousin, Emily, “helped me write it out and give me ideas.” Even the tree was based on a cherry plum tree on which she used to climb.

Kylah’s mother said the book is like the “Magic Tree” book series, adding the orientation “gives something more for smaller kids to read.”

“She’s always had stories in her; she loves to tell stories through play and other things like that. Allowing her to get out big words that she couldn’t yet spell just to get it out of her head and onto paper was tough for me to watch her spell it incorrectly, and then I would add it to her spelling list,” Jess said.

Her mother integrated Kylah’s book into her English studies as a homeschooled child as opposed to doing book reports.

Kylah’s mother said finding creative ways “to feed her passion for writing” was important.

“I’m teaching her about rhetoric and influence, how to develop a character,” Jess said.

Kylah’s mother said she is taking a break from writing at the moment but has a sequel planned, noting her daughter spends 15 hours a week on the media team for her church, The Encounter Charlotte.

“She has been empowered by the ability to literally do it herself,” Jess said about publishing the book on Amazon. “She’s had my help, and things like that, but she Googled this herself, so she feels empowered. She knows that if she decides to be a stay at home mom, she could still have a career path she could do at home.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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