Freshman Alicia Marzolf self-publishes

PHOTO CAPTION: The cover of freshman Alicia Marzolf's first novel. Abby's Secret, published in October, details the consequences of two people's mistake, and the actions they take to preserve their relationships with others. Photo used with permission of Alicia Marzolf

PHOTO CAPTION: The cover of freshman Alicia Marzolf's first novel. Abby's Secret, published in October, details the consequences of two people's mistake, and the actions they take to preserve their relationships with others. Photo used with permission of Alicia Marzolf

Maya Murthy

Marzolf speaks about her novels.

Freshman Alicia Marzolf is many things – a student, a horseback riding enthusiast and animal lover in addition to being a self-published author. Her first book, Abby’s Secret, is a teen romantic-drama about keeping a secret in order to preserve a friendship published in October. Her second, called Saving Home, details a young girl’s struggle to repair her parents’ marriage while trying to save the farm she grew up on that was published in February. Marzolf sat down with El Estoque to answer questions about her writing process, her books and her journey to get them published.

El Estoque: What started your interest in writing?

Alicia Marzolf: I’ve liked writing ever since I was little when I’d always write short stories, and I’ve always loved reading. I’d read books and go “I don’t like this ending, I’m going to write another ending for it. Eventually, I [decided to] write more.

EE: Why did you start writing Abby’s Secret?

AM: I was inspired by the title of a math project in seventh grade – it was very strange. Just the idea came into my head and I started

PHOTO CAPTION: The cover of freshman Alicia Marzolf's first novel. Abby's Secret, published in October, details the consequences of two people's mistake, and the actions they take to preserve their relationships with others. Photo used with permission of Alicia Marzolf
PHOTO CAPTION: The cover of freshman Alicia Marzolf’s first novel. Abby’s Secret, published in October, details the consequences of two people’s mistake, and the actions they take to preserve their relationships with others. Photo used with permission of Alicia Marzolf

planning characters and I just thought why not? I could write a book.

EE: What did your writing process look like?

AM: Around seventh grade, I started planning out the story. Towards the end of seventh grade I started writing, I wrote all through eighth grade, and the summer between eighth grade and high school I just edited and edited. I went through about five drafts, I think, and I sent it out to be published in August, and it was published in October.

EE: Did you reach out to the publishing company?

AM: Yeah, I went online and typed “publishing company” into Google, and a lot came up. I sent it to a few, and got some rejections, but Publish America, now America Star Books liked it and published it.

EE: While you were writing, did you face any obstacles?

AM: I faced writers block, where I’d lack inspiration and think ‘maybe I shouldn’t finish the story” but I overcame it. The biggest obstacle I think was time, because I go to school, and that’s like a full time job, and there’s a lot of time required. But I always try to make time to write, because in order to get better at writing you have to write everyday.

EE: Did you have your friends or family look over your book?

AM: No, I didn’t have any of them give input – I didn’t really tell anyone. People don’t really think writing is a cool thing, so I kept it to myself.

EE: Are you more open now about your love of writing?

AM: Yeah, when people ask about hobbies I always list writing and when people ask I tell them that I’ve published two books. I’m more open now because I’m proud of my work.

EE: Was there a specific moment that really made you proud?

AM: I think it was when I was interviewed by the Cupertino Courier and they published [the] article, and people who I barely knew would come up to me and say “Oh my gosh, you wrote a book.”

EE: How did you come up with the idea for the book Saving Home?

AM: That was more a gradual process, I’ve always been involved with animals, and I work with 4H (a youth development organization) on a farm and have ridden horses, and this was around the time my close friend’s parents got divorced. I took my ranch and farm experience and combined it with that.

EE: When did you start writing Saving Home?

AM: I started in the middle of eighth grade, while I was editing my first book. It took [less]] time because the subject of it was more familiar to me, and the second [book] always goes faster than the first. It took me a year, and it got published in February.

EE: Is there anything you learned from writing these books that you can apply outside of writing?

AM: I learned to be more confident and to trust myself, because I’d always tell myself “oh, I’m not good at writing, why should I even try” in literature class, but then I thought “maybe if I think I can try [can do it]. Basically having confidence in myself.