KINGMAN – While most people think of authors as hard drinking, chain smoking recluses typing away furiously at their great American masterpiece, a Lake Havasu City author was getting through her first year in high school.
Sarina Senger, 15, of Lake Havasu City and soon-to-be sophomore at Arizona Connections Academy, an online homeschool program, published her first novel, “Paradox,” last year.
The science fiction time travel tale is an abridged version of a movie she wanted to make. She realized how expensive the process was and went for the print route instead. Her eighth-grade English teacher, Raymond Hankinson, encouraged her and also helped edit the book.
“I got into the idea of writing this book being movies are expensive to make. I had a rough copy and sent him,” Senger said. “He told me he really liked the story, considering I don’t really like writing or reading.”
Her aunt Abby also helped with editing and started the publishing process.
“I never go into the written word until I got into moviemaking. I would make movies on my laptop,” she said. “I thought ‘Why not get into writing instead?’ Writing a book is a cheaper version of a movie.”
“Paradox” is about a girl named Katerina who lives in the the year 3146 where time travel is part of everyday life. She meets up with a mysterious young man while hopping timelines and has to help restore her own after meeting an arch nemesis while visiting historical figures from the past.
She started writing the book in winter of 2015 and it took her about nine months to finish. Senger admitted she’s a fan of the sci-fi genre, mentioning movies and TV shows like “Star Wars” and “Dr. Who.”
“I always found it interesting on how a world can be built on new ideas,” she said.
Everyone has to start somewhere. So far, Senger has sold 15 copies and made about $100. The book is only available online. She and her mother Sarah are working on a deal with the Book Exchange in Lake Havasu City to see if they’ll sell the book.
She’s currently working on multiple other books. Some are just ideas and some have multiple chapters and most of them are sci-fi/fantasy stories linked to the same universe as “Paradox.”
“If I could be a full time writer I would,” Senger said. “I’d save my money for a trade school or more writing classes.”
She’d also save to buy a house when she’s older.
Her mother was surprised Senger even wrote the book.
“When she was younger she absolutely hated reading and writing,” Sarah said. She had trouble motivating her daughter to get her homework done but had to find a way to take the initiative as a homeschooling parent.
A summer reading program by one of Senger’s teachers slowly coaxed her into reading and books like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Captain Underpants” flipped the writing switch on.
“She’s always been a creative kid, but those few things along the way inspired her,” Sarah said.
She made sure Senger enjoyed her new hobby and didn’t want to press too hard.
“I’m not a pushy parent. I took piano lessons as a kid and hated it,” Sarah said. “I want to encourage her but not push her to the point where she hates it.”
She said some parents tend to have their own objective and tend to push their children toward those objectives. She encourages those types of parents to back off.
“Let them figure things out themselves,” she said.
Since writing “Paradox”, Senger has a newfound appreciation for literature.
“I learned there is an importance in the written word and that there’s a large meaning in a simple sentence,” she said. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t like reading and writing. You accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.”