Student pens first novel

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Brynna Williamson, a 17-year-old homeschooler from Mineola, is already a published author.

In her newly released book, “Over the River and Through the Woods,” a teenage girl faces many challenges as she and her family cross the entire Old West alone. After a catastrophe, the girl, with her younger siblings, must find a way across the harsh untamed wilderness to her grandmother’s home.

Williamson says the story parallels her life in many ways. Two and a half years ago, her family left their home in a camper to make their way to Texas. With no family, friends or employment at their destination, Williamson said they were relying on God to guide and provide for them.

Although she didn’t realize it at the time of writing, the teenage girl in the story is about the same age Williamson was when her family began their journey, and the main characters are based on her family to some degree. The grandmother in the book is even a reference to her grandmother who died of a rare form of cancer in 2017. 

Williamson dedicated the book to her by writing at the beginning, “This book has a good ending…Every time she picked up a book, she said she wished it would just say on the title page whether or not it had a good ending - then she knew if she would read it or not.”

“Over the River and Through the Woods” began as a school project when Williamson was 14. After writing, she formatted, designed the cover and published the book herself, only printing enough for family and close friends.

“It took so long. Publishing a book is hard work. You have to really know your grammar and your audience,” she says.

It has since been published by Stones In Clay Publishing Company. 

“I actually found this publisher at a convention I went to, where I literally went booth to booth asking authors for advice and if they knew anyone who was looking to publish a book. The people at her booth said the she actually was (looking) and gave me her contact information. She emailed me back several months later saying she wanted to publish it.”

Williamson said she had to do a lot of revamping, and the publisher changed the book cover and formatting. She had to learn to compromise with her publisher. 

Williamson has had poems and short stories published in magazines and still has other book ideas that she is considering to expand upon. She has thought of writing a sequel to the book, but says as a senior in high school, she is very busy now. 

She is planning to attend a local college before transferring to a larger Christian university. Her long-term goal is to be in Christian ministry, but she never intends to stop writing.

Writing is a form of therapy and an extension of her ministry.

“Whatever I write will be according to God’s standards, and is most often going to be about a Christian person or that gives glory to God in some way,” she said.

She thinks that people who are not Christians will enjoy her books and that they will lead people to the truth that God can be their light, their strength, their rock, their friend – their everything. 

“Over the River and Through the Woods” is available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and www.alongsideyou.org. All money Williamson makes from the sale of her book will go directly toward college funds.

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