By TAYLOR CHRONERT, Vandegrift Voice
She began typing away at her computer keys, ideas flowing through her head, while trying to reach her goal of 1,500 words a day. Three months later, all those words added up to a published novel.
Vandegrift freshman Sophie Yang published her first-ever novel, “The Enemy Among Us,” earlier this month on March 3. Yang spent three months on her novel, starting on December 19 and finishing it in March. The book is currently being sold on Amazon.
“Publishing a book has always been a goal of mine when I was younger but I never took any steps towards it,” Yang said. “It became a goal of mine in November, and during winter break, I was super bored and decided to write a book.”
Each day she wrote around 1500 words, which equaled about three pages.
“Writing recently became a de-stressing activity to do after school or work,” Yang said. “So I would usually force myself to write three pages whenever I was inspired to write or needed to de-stress.”
Her novel is about a family isolated from surrounding communities on a rural part of land in Maine, where no one else lives. They must guard themselves against the outer dangers, and start experiencing bizarre circumstances that lead them to worry for their own safety. They are soon thrust into the center of chaos, battling away threats.
“I was inspired by the Tromp family case because there’s a theory that they suffered from a case of shared delusion and the idea of a zombie virus, but the book is not about zombies,” Yang said. “Originally I was going to write about zombies but as I built the plot, it turned into a psychological thriller instead of an action novel.”
Yang said she really enjoys writing genres that have to do with sociological thriller and is planning on doing another story in a genre with political commentary or psychology.
“I’m interested in understanding the psychology of people and I enjoy utilizing that heavily in my work,” Yang said. “My favorite thing would have to be the twists and turns it provides, and I’m also drawn to exploring the human psyche and reasoning for their actions.”
Yang announced the publishing of her novel through her story on Instagram and has put a link on her bio where you can purchase her novel. Her English teacher, Jackson Pierce, has already purchased her book.
“Sophie emailed me over the weekend to let me know that her book was available on Amazon, and I bought a copy already,” Pierce said. “The story is very exciting from the start, and it will hook you from the very first chapter.”
Publishing a book was always something that was on Yang’s bucket list.
“Once I set a goal in my mind, I knew I was going to do it,” Yang said. “I am stubborn so I was like, ‘Once I set something I will accomplish it.’ It feels nice to reach the goal, but it hasn’t settled in yet that I was able to.”
Yang said that the people who helped her out the most with this project were her dad and her teachers, Pierce and AVID teacher Joe Adrian.
“My dad helped me out with the cover and format, as well as helping me set up the account we used to publish it on,” Yang said. “My teachers read the story before it got published, and even though they didn’t finish it because it was so long, they really liked it.”
What impressed Adrian the most was that Yang saw the pandemic as a chance to be creative and use that creative outlet to help her deal with what the world is currently going through.
“Many people are dealing poorly with the pandemic, causing the rising episodes of stress, anxiety, and depression,” Adrian said. “But Sophie saw her situation as an opportunity to be creative and to take a chance which is very admirable.”
Pierce said that the day he found out that Yang was going to publish a book, he was completely floored.
“After reading the first couple of pages, I realized Yang’s writing did not need any proofreading or comments from me,” Pierce said. “Her work was already stupendous and astonishing. I became an English teacher to hopefully inspire as many young adults as possible to gain a passion for reading and writing, and Sophie has been able to reverse that back to me. She is an inspiration to those around her.”
Even though Yang really enjoys writing, she says she prefers it to be a hobby more than an actual passion.
“I like to start on different projects and would usually drop the project once I’m done with it, but I’ve always enjoyed writing,” Yang said. “I would write short stories in my writer’s notebook, and I would usually write whenever I am inspired to.”
Today, Yang is currently working on another book and is planning on publishing it in the near future.
“I am working on another story but I am not going to finish it as quickly as the last one because I want to make it really good,” Yang said. “It’s partially inspired by the Salem Witch Trials, which were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft, and the whole concept of ethnic cleansing.”
One of the pieces of advice that Yang would give to people who are inspired to write a book is to go for it.
“I would tell them to just go for it and set goals for themselves,” Yang said. “ I don’t plan on being an author as my livelihood but instead as a fun hobby or to relieve myself after a long day. My goal the whole time was to just do it, and I accomplished that, so I hope readers enjoy my writing, which is my intent.”
Taylor Chronert is a junior at Vandegrift and is also involved in cross country and track at VHS. Taylor enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, being outside, running, and spending time with friends.