Monday 30 April 2012

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Guest Post: Elisabeth Wheatley on Being a Teenage Author

Today, I'm honoured to share with you a guest post from Elisabeth Wheatley, the 16-year-old author of The Key of Amatahns and it's sequel The Secrets of the Vanmars! Elisabeth was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to talk about what it's like being a teenage author!

Elisabeth WheatleyI’ve always had an active imagination. When I was little, my mother used to take me and my brother to our local library for “story time.” The library was then in an old brick building and there were cracks near the ceiling that had been badly patched and looked kind of like holes. One time, my mother told me that that was from where fairies came in and out of the library. I believed her for years.

When I was about six, I wrote (and proudly illustrated) a very short picture book about my dog and pet goat. I put it together with duct tape and since I couldn’t spell my goat’s name—Count—I wrote “123” instead. Not too long ago we found it again. My brother thought it hilarious.

I was about eleven when I created the world that would eventually be home to my Argetallam Saga. I jotted down unnumbered story beginnings on paper, but never finished a manuscript until after I got an old laptop for Christmas one year. Once I had my computer (which I affectionately christened “Sonya”), there was nothing stopping me from staying locked up in my room late at night while my fingers whirred over the keyboard.

The Secrets of the Vanmars by Elisabeth WheatleyThere have been enough times where I didn’t get schoolwork done on time because my mind was far, far away in my imaginary world. My dear mother, otherwise so patient and encouraging, has had to take away my computer three times so that I would catch up on my math assignments (I kept count because I practically went into writing-withdrawal when it happened). Since we live in the middle of nowhere, with no internet connection to our house and all my friends miles away in the city, I got into the habit of getting up at 5:00 in the morning to get my work done so that I could spend the rest of the day writing.

I’ve found that the best way to balance writing and being a high school student is to make a schedule. I’ll formulate a

schedule, keep it for a few weeks or months, get sick of it, and make a new one. (I easily suffer from schedule fatigue and get bored.) I rarely talk to my friends on the phone. I usually text or email them and they have learned not to take it as an insult when I don’t want to talk. They know I’m usually working out some scene, plot twist, or other story issue and they indulge me.

Besides, who really cares about some celebrity’s love life or school work when there’s a fight scene to be written? To be honest, I often daydream during class and start thinking about wizards, elves, mythology, and—my very own creations—Argetallams. How can grammar compete with that?

In short, I love writing. To me it’s as basic as breathing and I don’t intend to stop any time soon.

Thank you, Elisabeth, for your great guest post! Be sure to check out Elisabeth's website and her The Secret of Vanmars when it's released on 15th May!


  1. wow wow wow!!!! i envy her soo much! writing is all i want to do, EVER, and i intend for it to happen. Like, as a living. although i dont think it will happen when i am a teenager! im so happy for Elisabeth - she's managed it!! :D

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the guest post! :) I'm sure you'll be a published author one day :)

  2. Aww I love her mother's story of fairies coming from the cracks in the library <3 Oh gosh, and her adorable short story when she was 6!

    Just wow... her dedication to writing her book is amazing. Especially at her age. Waking up at 5am every morning so she could make time to write? SO inspiring!

    I love this post!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :) Elisabeth is pretty awesome, so much hard work! :)