“I wrote this book upside down and backwards,” first-year Becky Plourde said, referring to her novel, Rose of Many Colors, that was just published in July. “I wrote chapter 3, then chapter 20… I wrote the epilogue before the book was finished.”
Becky grew up in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania, with her parents and two brothers. She was homeschooled during high school, which gave her the time to write a book.
In January 2003, while many Americans were busy celebrating the win of the Patriots over the Panthers in Superbowl XXXVIII, Becky was celebrating the completion of her novel. When she was 17 years old, Becky’s novel was published through Publish America.
Becky does not believe that any one event inspired her to write Rose of Many Colors. Her book tells the story of a young girl whose fairy-tale life is shattered when she is raped and finds out she is pregnant.
The idea for this particular novel sprang from a different story that Becky was working on about the mother of Kayleigh, the main character in Rose of Many Colors. That story still lies unfinished.
Although the main character’s daughter is also named Becky, and may share some personality traits with the author, the real Becky claims the story line does not reflect her own life. “I write about things I think about,” she said. “Wherever, however I think about them.”
One particular challenge in writing Rose of Many Colors was all the knowledge it required. “I was 16 at the time,” she said. “I had never been raped, never been pregnant, never been married, never had a twin brother.”
Some of her information she gathered from observing others. “I’m always watching guys and how they interact… especially with girls,” she said.
Other times, she goes to people for advice, like when she asked her mom to explain what happens when a baby is born. “Writing is not for the faint of heart,” the young author quipped.
In between her studies, Becky is working on the sequel to Rose of Many Colors. She is also writing My Life as a Walking Cliché, a story based on the typical stories of teen writers. Ideally, she would like to write a chapter a week.
As part of a web group for writers, most of whom are teens, Becky has noticed that many of their works have similar plots or themes. She decided to create one story based all the cliché ideas she has come across.
What Becky finds most difficult about writing is making the characters do what she wants them to do.
“Anyone who writes knows that characters take on their own life,” she said, adding that she finds it very hard to change the characters once they are introduced.
Becky’s advice to aspiring writers is to research-watch people, observe their actions. “If all your characters are the same it’s not going to go anywhere,” she said. She also said that it is good to get to know your characters and realize that writers can get their ideas from anywhere. As the young author put it, “You live and learn.”
For more information on publishing your own novel, or to purchase Rose of Many Colors, visit www.publishamerica.com.
For more information
Rose of Many Colors, written by first-year student Becky Plourde when she was seventeen years old, is the story of a fifteen year-old girl, Kayleigh, who is raped and becomes pregnant as a result.
With the help of her large and loving family, and her caring boyfriend, Kayleigh finds that she is not alone in her struggle and manages to find happiness in the face of tragedy.
The book is 268 pages long, and is available in paperback from Amazon.com for $21.95 + S/H. It is published through the print-on-demand publisher PublishAmerica.com.
Reporting by Rebecca Harwick