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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

14-year-old publishes fantasy novel “The Magic Within”

- The book was written to help youth work through their own struggles -

by Sylene Argent

14-year-old Paightyn Armstrong of Essex can now hold the culmination of years of hard work in her hands, and so can many others, as her first book, a fantasy novel called “The Magic Within,” was recently published.

  The grade nine Tecumseh Vista Academy student began working on the novel a few years back, noting the idea for the book came to her in grade four when the opportunity to enter a writing contest came about. Her idea, however, would take too long to meet that deadline for the contest, so she worked on this project on her own time over the course of a few years.

  Armstrong said she wrote the book for readers in the 9 to 12-year-old reader category. It follows the story of main character, 12-year-old Anna Wick, after an accidental fire that left her an orphan. In the story, a mysterious woman offers help, which takes her to a faraway, fantastical, and hidden island. While on the island, she has tasks to achieve, with very little time, and has to overcome many obstacles.

  “She discovers a whole other universe out there,” Armstrong said of her main character. “She isn’t your average 12-year-old girl. She faces things she never thought was possible.

  “It is pretty cool to see it printed,” she said, holding a copy of her book. “My goal was to have the main character help readers overcome their own obstacles.”

  The hardest part of writing the book, she said, was giving each of the characters a different voice so they didn’t sound the same and had their own personalities.

  Her mom, Tracy Armstrong, said her daughter told her she was writing a book, but was surprised when she placed a 54-page document into her hands to read.

  “When I started reading it, the first paragraph captivated the audience and used great imagery,” Tracy said of the first time she read the book. “It was very exciting as a mom.”

  The publishing process, Armstrong said, went pretty well. She opted to publish with FriesenPress. Her mom recalled receiving a call from the company a few years back, shortly after her daughter had reached out about information.

  After some research on publishers, and knowing they wanted to go with a Canadian company, they decided to go with FriesenPress in Victoria, just as their daughter had wanted to do based on her own research.

  “We thought, ‘boy, is she ever independent,’” Tracy said of her daughter’s ambition to find a publisher.

  Armstrong opted to use an illustration her Great-Aunt Amy Bradley made for the front cover as she felt it was best suited to represent the published works.   

  Armstrong is considering possibly writing a sequel to “The Magic Within,” but is currently immersed in writing a murder mystery set in the 1920s.

  Words of advice Armstrong would give to other youth who would love to write and publish their own works is to never give up.

  “I had moments I didn’t think I would finish,” she admitted, but she kept working at it until she was happy with the end-result.

  “The Magic Within” is available on FriesenPress, Amazon, Kobe, Kindle, Indigo, and Chapters.

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