If you have a story to tell, then tell it, and never give up until the world hears it.-Esabella Strickland, Award Winning Author, 15 years old
If you told me at age 10 that I would write and have a novel published by the time I was 15, I would have laughed at you. When I was 10 years old, I hated reading because of my Dyslexia; also, because I was being bullied and socially alienated at my old school because of the way I learned. I was often separated from the class to get “extra help”. As a result, my confidence was so low, and I felt so alone and sad.
I was half way through Grade 6 when I was transferred to a specialized school that helps kids like me with Dyslexia, ADHD, and social anxiety. Instantly, I felt I belonged there, and the teachers helped me understand and taught me the way my brain needed to learn.
Slowly, my confidence grew, and I began to enjoy reading, and eventually started loving it. It was when I was 13 that I talked to my Dad about writing a story about a girl like me who has the same challenges as me, but to make it magical, and mysterious, where I would learn fun and cool things. So my Dad became my scribe and researcher, and we began our journey with Orabella.
It took less than a week to write the whole book, but then when we got an editor to go through it, the real hard work began by removing certain things, adding things in, re-writing, editing, re-writing, and editing. Through all of this, my confidence began to plummet as more editing rounds came. However, with each round, the story really began to unfold – and the characters came to life!
Orabella was ME, and her story was magical, which I had hoped and dreamed of: For Orabella to be an inspiration for girls who are going through similar experiences of sadness, depression, and loneliness.-Esabella Strickland, Award Winning Teen Author
It was around this time I took a filmmaking summer camp and learned about bringing stories to life and how to write a script. This really helped me understand the novel writing experience.
So now our novel was ready to find a publisher and our next journey began. We compiled a list of publishers who we thought would be interested in our story. However, after months of denials, we were about to give up hope when we came across our present publisher. They loved the story and concept, but there was still a lot of editing and rewrites needed to get it to the published stage.
Our second journey began with more rounds of re-writes and edits. Waves of frustration and excitement overcame us as our journey to polish Orabella was again challenging. Months went by and finally a light at the end of the tunnel came when our publisher gave us a release day – it was close to 8 months away – so close but yet, so far away!
This gave us new-found hope and inspired us to work through our doubts and finish the re-writes and edits. We saw how the polished story began to shine. We reached out to friends my age to read it and provide feedback, and one of the main comments we kept receiving was how relatable Orabella is. They felt she would be an awesome friend. This made me so happy and I felt I accomplished my goal that Orabella was an inspiration for other girls!
I walked the Yellow Brick Road of writing. It was terrifying, frustrating, exciting, and amazing. Writing the story was the easy part – the process of getting it published is the hardest.
-Esabella Strickland, Award Winning Author
I am very proud of my daughter she is an inspiration to me, and our family and friends considering how much she has overcome.
Follow Esabella at www.esabellakarena.com, on social media at Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Tik Tok, and Linked In.