When the bell rings at Bellefonte Middle School, 12-year-old Annie Cernuska heads to her locker to change books with her fellow 6th graders.
But in her locker is a book nobody else carries, at least for now.
It’s a book she can call her own.
That’s right, she’s a published author at age 12.
“I really like writing and I always have,” she said.
Cernuska won a writing contest last year sponsored by a published author that encouraged her to keep writing and take the premise of her winning story, and publish a book, which was taken on by the Harrisburg Publishing Company Ready-Aim-Write-Publishing.
“I thought it would be a neat experience to see what it was like to write a book,” said Cernuska.
While most middle schoolers spend their summer at camps, and the swimming pool, Cernuska spent the summer up in her room writing away where she experienced the highs of sentences flowing with ease and the low’s of the dreaded “writers block.”
“It seems kind of easy at first, and you’re really just excited to get going, but after a while it does get complicated to elaborate and think of more details to add to the story, and really make sure your readers can visualize what you’re saying,” said Cernuska.
She says providing those images was helped by a summer vacation out west where she saw National Parks with scenic landscapes of untouched nature.
Which fit perfectly to what she was writing about in her science fiction book called The Hunter Voyage.
“It’s about these people,” she said. “They go to this undiscovered land and they have to learn how to build a place to live, and get food, and eat…”
And Cernuska didn’t look far from home for character names
“A lot of the names are names of my family members…there’s the family of five which is the main characters…and there’s also some animals that get involved with it as well.”
She’s not looking to stop after one book. She is setting her sights on much more, “Possibly turning it into a career…definitely hoping to write more books.”
She says her first story is set up to become a trilogy. When asked about the books theme, Cernuska said it’s simple: “You just have to patient and work hard at things, to get things that you need or want.”
Patience, a good theme for any author to teach, especially a 12-year-old who understands the long process of getting the words on the page.
“Some people might think that it comes naturally, but it doesn’t. Some parts are definitely difficult and you have to be able to receive some criticism, but you have to understand that all that feedback is gonna help you in the end.”
Cernuska’s book is now available on Amazon, and she will have a book signing Tuesday night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Bellefonte High School.