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High school student becomes fantasy author
by Kathryn Wlatrek
Karnes County High School junior Samantha Pardo smiled as she lightly fingered the spines of several of her favorite books. Their shiny cover jackets were each physically unique, bore a different author’s name, and contained original, thrilling stories within.
A large grin graced her face as she imagined the day she would finally hold her own novel, with its unique shiny cover jacket, her name printed across the front, and with her own original story being played out through its pages.
Ever since the day she received the acceptance letter from Dorrance Publishing, Sam, 16, could not get the image out of her mind.
Her own book to hold. And for others to hold, as well.
“I managed to read the first sentence (of my acceptance letter) before I started crying,” Sam said. “I never thought I would have a chance to actually make my dreams come true, so that was the happiest moment of my life.”
Sam’s book, Dawn and Dusk: First Flight, is a fantasy fiction novel centered on demon hunters trying to save the world. She does not yet know specifics of when her book will be published or where it will be sold, but it has indeed been accepted for publishing.
“This is the first book I’ve written and Dorrance Publishing was the first and only company I sent it to,” Sam said. “It’ll cost quite a bit for printing so it’s up to me to pay it. I’m not sure yet, but there may be a possibility it could be sold in Barnes & Noble. I also told [librarian] Mrs. [Holly] Polasek about it, but I’d really rather not let people I know read it.”
Although timid about others reading her book, Sam aspires to one day become a bestselling author like her idol, who penned the Harry Potter series.
“I started legitimately writing in the seventh grade, but I had always hoped I could be like J.K. Rowling,” Sam said. “When I learned about all she went through and was still able to be a worldwide bestselling author, I hoped I could be as amazing as her.”
From seventh grade on, Sam continued to write. Classmate Krupa Bhakta was the first to suggest to Sam in eighth grade she should consider actually publishing her work.
Sam and Krupa are both avid writers. During junior high, the two of them spent a large sum of time coming up with imaginative stories. Together, they would collaborate to make their original plots come to life on paper.
Back then, the two spent hours working at Krupa’s home, talking and planning the novel under the guise they were working on a school project.
“[Krupa] convinced me to try it out; when she stopped planning, I took off with the plot and characters,” Samantha said. “I owe it to her for giving me the courage to write and I believe she deserves credit for it as well.”
In eighth grade, Sam was working on two different stories. One of them she was writing on her own, while the other was a collaboration piece with Krupa. The book the two of them worked together on is the one currently being published.
“I was the planner; [Sam] was the writer.” Krupa said. “This is her book, her ideas, her large picture going to be bound together. She kept going at the story and didn’t give up on it. That’s why it’s her book. I’m so happy she kept her heart on the book from eighth grade up until now. She completely deserves this.”
In addition to Krupa’s assistance and encouragement, Sam has had support from others as well, especially her family members.
“All of my family and friends have been extremely supportive,” Sam said. “My parents and grandmother have been the most supportive though, encouraging me from day one.”
While some parents are hesitant to let their children pursue a risky career in the arts, where not much financial stability is offered, Sam’s parents encourage her to continue doing what she loves.
“I feel like Sam’s a very gifted author and does very well in putting her ideas into writing that people find entertaining,” said Alicia Pardo, Sam’s mother. “I think that she would contribute greatly to the literary community and it would be very rewarding to her personally to have a career that she is happy in and has always wanted.”
Although she is passionate about writing as a professional author someday, Sam has not closed off other career choices for her future -- as long as she can continue to write in her spare time.
No matter what path Sam decides to take, her family wants her to be involved in something that brings her joy and a sense of satisfaction.
While her future is not set in stone, Sam is sure of one thing; she will continue writing for the time being.
“Dawn and Dusk will be a series, hopefully,” Sam said. “Actually, I’m working on the second book at the moment.”
She encourages other young writers to follow their dreams, as she has.
“Don’t give up on your dreams; if you really love what you do, don’t be afraid to try,” Sam said. “You’re given a great gift and the world needs more literature; if a 16-year-old can do it, anyone can.”
Junior Journalist Kathryn Wiatrek, Karnes City High School sophomore, is the photo editor of the school’s newspaper, the Badger Times. The daughter of Edwin and Lyndal Wiatrek is a member of the Highsteppers dance team, Student Council, and Black Friars Drama Club. She participates in UIL journalism and debate and hopes to attend the University of Texas at Austin. She decorates and sells cakes, in addition to her other interests.
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