Youthful New Kent author publishes first fantasy work
As a kindergarten student, Danielle Carothers learned her future would be tied to writing. Today, at age 14, her future has arrived.
Her first book, a 137-page fantasy entitled “Over the Valley,” is in print. Last Saturday, she took time out from a book signing at Hayseeds in Providence Forge to discuss her work and how she entered the publishing field.
The self-described tomboy lives with her parents, Theresa and Gary Carothers, on a horse farm near Providence Forge. Her father is a blacksmith and her mother works with horses. Both spend working hours at Colonial Downs when horse racing is in season, and Danielle, who is home-schooled, tags along.
During her young life, Danielle has developed a love for animals, a love she combines with her writing talent, fertile imagination, and penchant for art (she illustrated the book’s cover) into her first work.
“Over the Valley” is a fantasy, a work of fiction, but the book carries a message.
“I’m trying to tell people what the world would be like if there was no pollution,” Danielle said. “I’m telling people anything can happen and probably would work out.”
Without revealing too much, the story centers around five teenage friends– Zack, Korie, Kyle, Nila, and Justin– who live in a small 18th century town bordering the Amazon jungle. The group encounters three explorers who tell of a cave known as Kyrin. The cave turns out to be the gateway to the magical land of Pareno, which is populated by unicorns, dragons, fairies, and griffons along with animals who can talk, and the teens are off on an adventure.
All is not well in the magical land, however, as the evil inhabitants of Paragog, a neighboring island, are bent on destroying Pareno.
“They want to populate Pareno with their animals that aren’t very nice,” Danielle said.
The five teens work to prevent the Paragog takeover, and there is “a huge secret,” Danielle said, that ties the friends to the magical land. That secret will be revealed in her second book, which, by the way, is about halfway written. Plans are also in the works for a third book in the series and perhaps a fourth.
Danielle’s kindergarten teacher in the West Point school system encouraged her to develop her writing talent.
“I got interested in writing short stories in school, and my teachers kept telling me to work on writing,” she said.
But writing time in school proved to be limited, prompting her to ask her mother for permission to be home-schooled. She has been taught at home for the past three years.
Danielle finished “Over the Valley” when she was 13. The process took about a year and included two rewrites.
“The third one I was happy with, and I went from there,” she said.
Finding a publisher was the next step. Searching the Internet, she came across publishers who liked her work, but balked at printing because of her age. Eventually, she found Inkwater Press in Portland, Ore.
“They said they didn’t have a problem with a younger person and took it,” she said.
Inkwater has published 31 copies. Several were sold last Saturday and the remainder will be on sale at her next book signing scheduled for Dec. 15, 6-8 p.m. at Barnes and Noble in Williamsburg.
Danielle admits her interest in literature never flourished until she was introduced to the Harry Potter series, which has helped her develop her fantasy writing style. It may be time for J.K. Rowling to move over.