A 14-year-old publishes her first novel

An interest in vampires leads a teenager to a book contract.

Topics: Books,

With so many parents and teachers skittish about what their kids are reading, watching or fantasizing about, the experience of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes seems like an oasis of sanity. Atwater-Rhodes is a 14-year-old novelist whose first book, an atmospheric and elegantly written vampire fantasy called “In the Forests of the Night,” has just been published by Delacorte. “I read and enjoy just about anything I can get my hands on,” Atwater-Rhodes told Salon Books on the phone from her hometown of Concord, Mass., where her book is set. Atwater-Rhodes’ parents encouraged her to read what she wanted as long as she was reading. Christopher Pike’s “The Last Vampire” was one of the books that captured her fancy, and she started writing her own stories in the third grade.

When she was finishing “In the Forests of the Night,” Atwater-Rhodes went to her local bookstore and bought everything she could find on how to get published. She ran into another bit of luck when a friend was bragging about her writing to an English teacher who also happened to be a literary agent. He asked to see “In the Forests of the Night.” Impressed, he shopped the manuscript around and found a taker at Random House. “It’s such a well-realized fantasy world that she’s created,” says Lauri Hornik, senior editor at Random House. “She has been writing about this one society for several years and has a number of manuscripts on her shelf. It’s remarkable for any author to have such a well-realized and believable other world that they’ve created, but she wrote these before she was a teenager. We wouldn’t have published the book just because of her age. It delivers in terms of characterization and plotting and setting.”



Hornik is now editing Atwater-Rhodes’ second novel, due next summer. Like the writers she most enjoys, Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton, Atwater-Rhodes writes vampire novels that follow the fates of many connected characters. “The family tree,” she says, “already consists of about 260 characters.” Her next book concerns a young writer who makes a brief appearance in “In the Forests of the Night” and Aubrey, the darkly charismatic vampire responsible for turning Risika, the heroine of “Forests,” into one of the undead. Atwater-Rhodes’ articulate seriousness about her writing leaves no doubt that she’s found what she wants to do.

Charles Taylor is a columnist for the Newark Star-Ledger.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>