By Emily Isaac
Age really is just a number for Mariah Shepherd, an 18-year-old published author of two novels with a third on the way.
Shepherd wrote her first novel at just 16, titled “Would You Believe Me?” The story follows 16-year-old Rose Mendez on her search to find her missing younger brother Gabe, who is believed to be dead.
Shepherd said she only wrote for academic purposes before her first novel then one day she found inspiration.
She said after watching a boring television show she thought she might be able to create something that never became dull.
Shepard then wrote her first novel.
The second book “Can You Find Me?” was published over the summer and continues with the search of Gabe. Shepherd is currently working on a third installment to her soon-to-be trilogy.
Shepherd, a freshman laboratory science major at Youngstown State University, said she chose science instead of English because she thought writing was more of a hobby for her, but she plans to continue to write in the future.
She said the possibility of getting into screenwriting and having her books turned into movies or a TV series was exciting.
Shepherd was strongly encouraged to pursue her interest in writing by family, friends and teachers, including her high school English teacher, Luis Abraham.
According to Abraham, Shepard started showing talent in writing her freshman year of high school at New Castle High School in New Castle, Pa.
Although Shepherd was surrounded by supportive individuals, she said one stood out among the others as her main source of inspiration ― her mother.
She was also there for Shepard through the entire publishing process of her novel.
Because of Shepherd’s age, she was unable to speak to her own publishing company without her mother present. She went through Archway Publishing to get her books published.
With two books on the shelves and a third on the way, Shepherd says she never saw herself getting published.
She said she attempted to get her books published because of the encouragement of teachers like Abraham.
“I was honored that Mariah kept me in the process throughout her journey,” said Abraham.
“It was great to see her develop her skills set in writing as well as gain experience in publishing her novels,” he added.
The photographer for her cover art was her high school art teacher who Shepherd said helped her with all her design choices, including choosing to have her own friends on the front cover as the main characters of her story.
“Mariah is an independent thinker who seeks out knowledge from individuals she is comfortable with,” said Abraham. “She is very astute and has a vision in terms of the writing process needed to write a novel.”
Shepherd had a book signing for her first novel and an “Ask The Author” at her high school.
She plans to have another book signing in the near future for her second novel, and said she is unsure of when her third novel will be published.
Mariah Shepherd: (724-714-9060)
Louis Abraham: [email protected]