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November 29, 2012

Student Author Enters the Literary World

by Ni'Shell Johnson

Lauren Burnham started writing what would eventually become Looks of an Angel during eighth grade.  She left it behind when she went to Centennial, but came back to work on the book during her sophomore year.  Burnham finished the novel during her junior year.  She was able to do this by having a creative writing  independent study course with  Lindsay Green for one period every day.  It allowed her to have a bit of time set apart to just write and later, edit until she finally was happy with the end result.  As a senior, she book was officially published on October 31, but did not become available until a bit later at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.  Next year, Burnham will attend Bradley University and continue her writing as a hobby.  When she is not writing or hanging out with friends and family, she can be found with her two cats or here.

The Centinal: How did you come up with the title/cover?

It’s an ironic book so it’s an ironic title. First it had a pink cover, and I wouldn’t even pick up the book if I had seen that cover.  [The current cover has a photo that includes a tunnel on the front.] They say when you die you see a tunnel.   Read the book and you’ll find out the cover only makes sense.

The Centinal: How many books are there in the series?

Just two books, the sequel will  have a lot of action and answers many questions the first book didn’t answer.   It’s in paperback form so I can sign the books.

The Centinal: Describe your main character.

I made Aly strong-minded because I wanted to be strong-minded. She’s a prisoner and she has to kill prisoners because her life is on the line.

The Centinal: How did you start writing?

My friends in 8th grade called me plutotarian because I was always the quiet shy girl in the corner. It was originally an inside joke.

The Centinal: Were you nervous?

In the 5th grade I said I wanted to write a book, but it wasn’t because I wanted to be famous. It was a moment where I just wanted everyone to enjoy a good book

The Centinal: What makes your story unique?

I am a young adult writing a young adult book. It’s not like some authors who are thirty and are writing young adult books.

The Centinal: How did you grow from this book?

I’m more social. I learned to speak in front of a crowd, which I couldn’t do before.

The Centinal: You said you changed your major because of this book why?

I thought about being an English major, but when I did my research I learned about marketing.   It was fun and I liked being part of the experience, I am also going to major in creative writing.

The Centinal:  What’s next for you?

Well, I’m still working on my new book, it’s not the same but it has aspects of  Looks of an Angel. It’s also not predictable.

The Centinal:  What do you want others to learn from your experience?

It’s a life changing experience.  You have to be very dedicated. Brainstorm so you don’t write about something you don’t know about or enjoy. Be yourself in your work.

Looks of an Angel is available at Barnes and Noble (in stores and online), Amazon and soon will be in all ereader formats.  It can also be checked out from the Centennial Library.

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