Carolin Petersen self-published “Broken Compass,” her first novel, this summer through Amazon’s CreateSpace. (Sarah Gawdin/The Progress)

Chilliwack teen publishes first novel at 16

Using a self-publishing site, Carolin Petersen was able to publish her first book at 16-years-old

Carolin Petersen has always been a lover of the written word. However, after first enjoying the stories of others, her imagination quickly took flight and she began crafting her own epic stories.

“I always knew I wanted to be a writer,” said the soon-to-be high school senior. “I started with fan fiction, which was easier because the universe was already created.”

When she was 10-years-old, Petersen read the Inheritance Cycle, a young adult fantasy tetralogy, and learned the series’ first book, Eragon, was written by Christopher Paolini when he was only 15.

“So my 10-year-old-self said, ‘Before I’m 17, I’m going to publish a book.’” And that’s exactly what she did.

Just under two months before her 17th birthday, Petersen opened a box and pulled out the first printed copy of Broken Compass, her first novel.

Beginning with a one-page draft she wrote last summer on her 16th birthday, Petersen began slowly flushing out her story idea and adding flesh to its bones during the last half of 2017. Then, in her second semester of Grade 11, she took a creative writing class that gave her the opportunity to turn her story into a 30,000-word book.

“Broken Compass” is the first published work of Carolin Petersen, 17, of Chilliwack. (Sarah Gawdin/The Progress)

Starting her days at five in the morning, Petersen said she’d write for hours before school, on her laptop during the bus ride to school, and during any spare moment she could find.

“I worked on my first draft every moment I could: if I wasn’t eating, sleeping or at work, I would be writing,” said Petersen.

In less than two months, from the end of January to the middle of March, Petersen was able to complete the writing of her novel’s first draft and then sent it off to her beta readers the day before spring break.

From there, says Petersen, it was lots and lots of editing. And based on the feedback provided by friends, family, and her beta readers, Petersen was able to finalize the first edition of her book and send it away for publication.

“I used CreateSpace on Amazon (to publish my book),” explained the teen-aged author. “I did all kinds of research about matte vs. gloss … the colour of pages … and using unique (cover) art.”

And she couldn’t be happier with the final product, which features cover art by Rose Khadka, a friend of Petersen’s.

Arriving this past July, Petersen says she could barely contain her excitement as she and her mother drove into the United States to pick them up.

“My heart was racing as we crossed the border,” said the young author with a smile on her face.

Eager to see the final version of all her hard work, Petersen says she quickly cut away the box’s tape and pulled out the packing paper to reveal the first copies of the first edition of Broken Compass.

“I was so happy (to receive them),” she said. “I was on a high for the next three days I was so excited.”

Based in a world of her own creation, Broken Compass tells the story of four unlikely heroes who work together to not only save their land, but their world from chaos and destruction.

“They’re rebelling against society … (and) the Emperor,” Petersen continued. “And together, they fix the moral compass of the entire kingdom.

“It has a happy ending but an open ending,” she added.

And while she’s not sure if there will be a sequel to Broken Compass, Petersen says she’s already working on a trilogy with a friend and plans to apply to the Okanagan College’s writing and publishing program.

“I’m a writer, but also, I like to help people,” said Petersen, who believes her project may have been more difficult to complete without the help of others because she “really struggled” at times.

“But I’m so happy (with the results!)” she exclaimed while looking at a pile of her books.

Broken Compass can be purchased on Amazon.ca for $8 USD.


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

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