Gabriella Francis has experienced the thrill few writers enjoy in a lifetime.
For admiring friends on Feb. 23 at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, 2055 Coral Way, Francis happily signed copies of her newly published book, Crestfallen, a fantasy-styled tale of a curious girl named Destiny.
According to the copy on the book cover, Destiny is a girl who “takes a wrong turn in life, setting her on the path of danger, jeopardy and dark romance” in a “daring adventure” that Francis said, “I spent as much time writing as I did getting the volume in print.”
The John A. Ferguson High sophomore said she already is planning to write a sequel that will trace Destiny’s origins and how she discovers new abilities.
“It took me seven months to write the book and six months to get it through the publishing process,” she said, saving “all the money I received from my Sweet 15 with my grandmother helping me to get it copyrighted and in print.”
Also inspiring her were her grandfathers on both sides of her family — maternal grandfather, Edward, and paternal grandfather, Joseph, a poet.
Her inspiration for Crestfallen came from reading the popular saga, Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, a successful young adult author who wrote a similar tale of a girl whose romance leads her into a strange adventure.
Any problems with first-time authorship?
“I faced things like writer’s block, and it was difficult when plot holes started to come up,” Gabriella admitted. “And there were people who thought I was too young to get published.”
Now that she is published, Gabriella advises others to “have a rough draft” and “always be planning” the literary path of fictional characters.
“If you ever get discouraged, don’t think about giving up. Think about what you want to accomplish and keep the outcome in mind,” she said.
A student of English classics, she aims to continue her literary journey at the Savannah (GA) College of Art and Design, known as “SCAD,” a private university specializing in creative careers.
Meanwhile, her family in the Deer Creek neighborhood is more than proud of her effort, as expressed by Gabriella’s mother Sandra Francis: “She’s really worked hard for this.”
Crestfallen in paperback ($13.72) is available through Amazon, as well as a Kindle version for $3.99, published by Archway, a division of Simon & Schuster.