One day 17-year-old Samantha Gibson of Dresser found herself bored in an English class at New Richmond High School so she started writing a book. Two-and-a-half years later and with the support of Sigma’s Bookshelf, Gibson’s book “Hostage” is now on the market and selling well.
“I started on the story because I was just bored in English class my freshman year of high school. I thought of the idea (I can’t remember exactly why I thought of the idea though) and just thought it was an interesting topic overall,” said Gibson.
“I didn’t have a plan for the story at all, I just started writing whatever came first to my mind. As the chapters went on, and the help from a few of my peers, I got new ideas and conflicts to put together. But further into the story, I realized there had to be some conclusion so that’s when I really started to plan an ending.”
Sigma’s Bookshelf is a grant-supported project of Springboard for the Arts, a nonprofit arts services organization. All work to bring books to market is done by unpaid volunteers. Teen authors whose work is selected for publication get their books published for free and are paid royalties for books that sell online, in stores and at events.
Gibson learned about Sigma’s Bookshelf when she was in the eighth grade and attended a school field trip to the Young Authors Conference at Bethel University.
“I met Rachel Anderson, owner of Sigma’s, when I first sat in my book ‘Hostage’ to see if they’d publish it and everything. Rachel helped edit and with the process of getting my book published.”
However, Gibson has been writing since her days in elementary school. When she started working on “Hostage,” she didn’t even know Stockholm syndrome was a thing.
High school is hard enough without the constant barrage of people pretending to be your friend because your father is rich, but that is the reality 17-year-old Serina Ange faces every day. After an exhausting day at school, she is on her way home when out of nowhere a masked man appears and kidnaps her. Serina’s first thought of her when she wakes up in a strange place is that she was taken for her father’s money from her, but was that really the kidnapper’s motivation from her? As the days and weeks go by, Serina becomes conflicted with the relationship she has formed with her captor. Meantime, some children at school are getting closer and closer to figuring out what happened to her, and mounting a rescue. But what if she doesn’t want to be saved?
In addition to her interest in writing, she is a YouTuber, a Twitch Streamer, and she has a passion for gaming (on PC mostly). She is also a voice actor whose work has been featured in YouTube productions, including Empire’s End Official, in which she portrays one of the main characters. She hopes to one day pursue a career in writing or acting.
“My process through all of this had to deal with a lot of last minute decisions. Because I didn’t plan anything and I wrote whatever first came to my mind, it was kind of a mystery to me of how my own story went along—if that makes sense. So it felt like I was getting the readers reactions even though I’m the author. I got excited when something happened, and even after the book was finished, I read through it and still felt those emotions, “ Gibson explained.
“About the middle of the book I made a Google doc for notes to keep my thoughts together and if I were to think of another idea to possibly put in that was my go-to. On that doc I also kept track of my word count. My goal was 100,000 words, at the end I got around 80,000.”
In addition to Hostage, Gibson has written other short stories and she started writing a book called “The Barn,” “But none of them ever got finished,” said Gibson.
After high school Gibson wants to move to Colorado with her cousin and a friend.
“I hope to become a larger author and a known person. I do YouTube videos and like to play video games so if possible, being some kind of influencer would be great! People enjoy my videos, my content, my books; so I want to get out there more.”
“Having my books turn into movies would be like a dream come true,” said Gibson.