Olivia Kerber is only a senior in high school, but she is already well on her way to a bright career.
The 17-year-old, Bureau Valley student has turned an on-the-side writing project into her debut novel, which was just published this past summer.
Kerber has since been hosting book signings and even held readings during Chambanacon in Champaign in November, which is similar to a Comic-Con event.
While Kerber is on the path to someday become an author, hopefully writing in New York, her journey to get where she is today did not come easy. In fact, Kerber’s original dislike for English prevented her from learning to read until she was in third grade.
“I had the basics down, but I was in a lot of special education classes from third to fifth grade learning to read,” she said.
In eighth grade, Kerber picked-up and read her first book cover-to-cover, which was the first book in the vampire-themed romance series, “Twilight.”
Around the same time, Kerber’s English class required students to write papers and read them out loud in front of the class. Kerber said the compliments she received on her work motivated her to begin focusing more on her writing hobby.
And when a friend suggested that she write a story about the bad guys winning, she picked-up the idea and went with it.
“I thought that’s weird. You don’t really hear about that happening very often,” she said.
Kerber buckled down this past summer at her favorite Princeton location — Flour House Bakery — and finished that story she had started the year before.
At the end of August, she sent “Briobands” to editors through CreateSpace on Amazon, which edit and published the piece at no cost to her. The program allows writers to publish their work for free, but charges the author when it comes time to purchasing copies of the book.
Kerber is now on a mission to share her book with others. She said the most exciting part about having her story published is getting the feedback from her readers.
“It’s incredible. I love it so much … I’m known as the 17-year-old author,” she said. “It feels good to have people reading my stuff.”
As for the future, Kerber plans to attend college and earn a degree in creative writing as she pursues her talent further.
Before then, however, Kerber would like to start a motivational program for teens where she travels to high schools to talk with students about how to set goals and work to achieve them.
“I know we’re told that all the time, but I think it’s more of a, ‘I’ll worry about it when it comes along.’ But you can seriously do anything now with technology. I think it’s just phenomenal we can do that,” she said.
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Want to buy the book?
• Search Briobands by Olivia Esther on Amazon.
• Purchase the book on Kindle for $3.50 or a paperback for $12.
• Follow Olivia on Twitter @Olivia_Esther24 and let her know what you thought of the book.
What's the plot?
Similar to the "Hunger Games" and "Divergent" series, Kerber's sci-fi, futuristic story is called "Briobands" and is about a world where people wear bands on their wrist that lead them to their future.The main character, Melody Ruin, finds out the bands are actually brainwashing the city, and she has to find out how she's going to save the city.