One day, 17-year-old Samantha Gibson from Dresser was 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 the story because I was 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) and I just thought it was an interesting topic overall,” Gibson said.
“I had no plan for the story at all, I just started writing what first came to mind. As the chapters progressed and with the help of a few of my peers, I had new ideas and new conflicts to set up. But later in the story, I realized there had to be a conclusion, so I really started planning an ending.
Sigma’s Bookshelf is a project supported by grants from Springboard for the Arts, a nonprofit arts service organization. All of the work to bring the books to market is done by unpaid volunteers. Teen authors whose work is selected for publication have their books published for free and receive royalties for books that sell online, in stores and at events.
Gibson heard about Sigma’s library when she was in eighth grade and attended a field trip to the Young Authors Conference at Bethel University.
“I met Rachel Anderson, owner of Sigma’s, when I first sent in my book ‘Hostage’ to see if they would publish it and all. Rachel helped me edit and get my book published.
However, Gibson has been writing since his elementary school days. 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 dad is rich, but that’s the reality that 17-year-old Serina Ange faces every day. After an exhausting day at school, she is on her way home when a masked man appears out of nowhere and kidnaps her. Serina’s first thought when she wakes up in a strange place is that she’s been taken for her father’s money, but was that really the kidnapper’s motivation? As the days and weeks pass, Serina comes into conflict with the relationship she has formed with her captor. Meanwhile, some kids at school are getting closer and closer to figuring out what happened to him and arranging a rescue. What if she doesn’t want to be saved?
Besides her interest in writing, she is a YouTuber, a Twitch streamer, and she has a passion for gaming (mainly on PC). She is also a voice actress whose work has been featured in YouTube productions, including Empire’s End Official, in which she plays one of the main characters. She hopes to one day pursue a career as a writer or actress.
“My process through it all had to deal with a lot of last minute decisions. Because I had nothing planned and wrote everything that came to mind, it was a bit of a mystery to me how my own story turned out – if that makes sense. So I felt like I was getting feedback from readers even though I’m the author. I got excited when something happened, and even after the book ended, I read it and still felt those emotions,” Gibson explained.
“Around the middle of the book I created a Google doc for notes to keep my thoughts together and if I had to think of another idea to possibly put in, that was my choice. On that doc I also kept track of my word count. My goal was 100,000 words, in the end I got around 80,000.”
In addition to Hostage, Gibson wrote other short stories, and she began writing a book called “The Barn,” “but none of them were ever finished,” Gibson said.
After high school, Gibson wants to move to Colorado with his cousin and a friend.
“I hope to become a bigger author and a well-known person. I make videos on YouTube and I 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 go out more.
“Having my books become movies would be like a dream come true,” Gibson said.