A local woman has published her first novel - at age 20.
Kelly Beck, who has lived in Kingman since she was 4 years old, recently penned a fantasy novel entitled "Starshine Sea: Book One: Map to Draco." The genre is Beck's favorite, as her most loved works of fiction include "The Chronicles of Narnia," "The Lord of the Rings" and "Beowulf."
Beck said the idea for her book came to her quite suddenly, starting with one sentence that stuck in her mind, eventually evolving into an entire plotline. She wrote the novel in about three months, spending an additional month editing her work and creating the 15 illustrations that accompany the text. Beck said, "The writing actually came pretty easily to me, but it was exhausting!"
After searching the Internet for literary agents and publishers, she sent her book to several before signing on agent-less with PublishAmerica, a Maryland-based company. PublishAmerica printed the novel in November, and its official release date is today, although it has been available through various online booksellers for some time.
Earlier this month, the publisher chose "Starshine Sea" as its "Book of the Week," which Beck said helped to allay her fears that the book would not be widely accepted.
Her target audience includes adults and children in the third grade and older.
Beck's sister, a teacher at La Senita Elementary School, recently purchased a full class set of the books for use in her classroom.
Several members of her family are tied to the literary world - her sister, mother, aunt and some cousins have all written or currently are writing books.
Beck said her family has been extremely supportive of her work, starting with her mother's encouragement and including some inspiration from her late grandfather.
She dedicates the book to her "grandpa," who she says introduced her to astronomy, which plays heavily in the fantasy novel.
Beck soon will begin promoting "Starshine Sea" by trying to get the book into physical bookstores and by appearing for book signings throughout Mohave County and other areas of the state.
In the meantime, she is busy working on the second book in the series, as well as three unrelated stories she hopes to publish someday. In all, Beck said she has prepared plots for nine "Starshine Sea" books, and the publisher is open to the possibility of printing all of them. Her schedule also includes some community college courses in the humanities, including literature.
More information about Beck and her book, including samples of her illustrations, can be found on her Web site, www.starshinesea.com.