With the help of a local publishing company, Shepherd University student Rachel Stark has published her first work of fiction.
Stark, a 20-year-old Communications and English student from Petersburg, W.Va. published her manuscript 'A Veil of Shattered Dreams,' with the help of Cressen Books, a husband and wife-run independent publishing company in Gerrardstown.
Stark, who worked as an intern for the pair of publishers last year, explained that the rare opportunity she was given to publish her work came as a unexpected gift.
"It was a blessing in disguise," Stark said of her fortunate turn from intern to author.
She said she happened upon the small publishing company while searching for an internship to meet a capstone graduation requirement.
What Stark said she actually found in her experience working for Cressen Books was much more than she bargained for.
They accepted me with open arms, she said.
As Ed Lohr who co-owns Cressen Books, along with his wife Wendy, explained, the couple decided a hands on approach to learning publishing would be most beneficial for the company's first intern.
"She had a broad exposure," Lohr said.
Along with learning the technical work of editing, and ins and outs of the business side of publishing, the pair challenged Stark to write a manuscript of her own so she could truly see the process a book takes from conception to completion.
"They wanted me to get the most of the editing and publishing experience," Stark said.
Each week for more than six months Stark wrote, brainstormed and edited her manuscript with the guidance of the Lohrs.
As the couple explained, Rachel's idea for 'Veil of Shattered Dreams,' struck them immediately as "something different" and they saw the potential to create a new type of story for the young adult genre.
"She's just an outstanding person to work with and a wonderful addition to out publishing family," Wendy Lohr said of her experience working with Rachel.
Though Stark grew up writing short stories and poetry, she said never considered herself a future author per say.
"I enjoy reading more than I do writing."
Stark said she's still in disbelief to have published 'Veil,' at all.
"I'm still in shock by it," she said.
Graduating a semester early, Stark said her next plan is to concentrate on finishing up her studies before going away to graduate school to study technical writing.
The pair from Cressen Books plan to continue helping Stark market her first work.
Stark held her first book signing in Charles Town last month and will also hold a signing in her home town of Petersburg, on March 16.
Those interested in purchasing a copy of the novel, that Stark described as a "psychological suspense journey," can order it online at www.createspace.com in paperback. Its also available as an ebook for Kindle and Nook.
The Lohrs hope to work with other students who are interested in learning about publishing and a said they aren't opposed to giving another young writer/editor a shot.
"We would like to have another internship next fall," Ed said.
"You get out what you put into it."