By Ben Marshall
Kaylee M. Preston began writing a book over her Christmas break when she was 13. That book, “Empress of Fire” is now on the shelves of each branch of Audrain County’s libraries, and available for purchase online through Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Amazon, according to Preston. However, her book since published earlier this year is also available through many other various sites online, as well.
Preston introduced her book “Empress of Fire,” giving a short review for all those in attendance at the Vandalia Library.
She said, “It is about Lavana, who is the main character. She has had her nation taken away from her. She was supposed to be queen, but her guardian, the one her parents trusted, betrayed her and them.” She added that, “This is about her adventures with Kadar as she (Lavana), tries to rebuild her nation.”
The character Lavana was inspired by various characteristics that Preston admires. She said, “It shows females can be as strong as anyone else, especially emotionally.”
When asked if she is working on any other books, Preston said she is working on five other manuscripts. There is one that is special to her because it is about animals, and that she has a great love for animals. It is about the prejudices within the animal world, and about a woman who is trying to build a new environment for them. She later said that she is calling that book, “Soul Bonded.”
Preston, who is now 14, said that she didn’t imagine that her book, “Empress of Fire” would ever in reality be published. She added that finding and working with a book publisher can be a difficult task. There were several phone calls, emails, and considerations to be made before the book would finally come about.
Vandalia Library manager Crystal McCurdy asked Preston more specifics on how long it actually took to write her book.
“I wrote a chapter a day,” she said. She was up late hours, and even though it only took 14 days, she had put in a lot of hours writing during her break in 2018.
Preston said she writes when inspired and that she felt particularly inspired when writing this book.
When asked if the publisher had done any major changes in her book when editing it, she said, “I actually asked them to edit it , but they did not.”
She later apologized for some of the mistakes she found going over her book because by then it was too late to change them.
Many of those who had already read her book said that they found few mistakes, and knowing that the publisher did not do any major editing to it, they said she had done an excellent job.
In closing, Preston handed out special bookmarks and or postcards that related to her book, and held a special drawing for a free copy of it.
Melissa Deimeke was the excited recipient of the drawing, and received a signed copy.
Preston is currently in ninth grade, a freshman at Van-Far High School in Vandalia, Mo. She is in a number of school organizations. She is in the A plus program, doing 50 hours of community service; The Future Business Leaders of America, where she does community service working with the Vandalia Library on Saturdays; and she is in the The National Junior Honor Society, an international student organization that consists of chapters in middle schools founded by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Preston said she is active in a lot of school events.
Kaylee thanked the audience for coming and for all their support.