Sydney Campanella and Lauren-Kate Stewart have a lot in common. They both have blonde hair, are 13 years old, love animals, are serious about their respective sports, and are currently home-schooled rising eighth-graders. What the friends have in common that makes them different from their peers is that they are both published authors.
Sydney has published three books: “The Mysterious Birthday Gift,” “Mystery on the Trail” and “Mystery at Camp Lakeside.” Lauren-Kate has published two: “Commander You You and the Imperial Diamond” and “Commander You You and the Time Penny.”
The books were published by a small, independent press called The Bridge and are available in local bookstores and on Amazon.com.
In their home-school class, their writing teacher suggested that they each write a book; however, they did not approach this assignment in the same way.
Sydney said, “I expected to write a real book because I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Lauren-Kate’s reaction was, “No way. I thought I’d write maybe 20 pages in a binder.”
Sydney said she wanted to write about something she wanted to read. “I like family mysteries, like Nancy Drews, and I love animals so I have a dog in my story that’s a main character.”
Lauren-Kate said that her book idea came from “a made-up game I would play with my dad. I’ve always loved dragons and adventures.”
Their writing processes were also different. Sydney said, “Before I start, I make note cards for each chapter, but the chapter doesn’t always turn out the way on my note cards.”
Lauren-Kate said, “At first I had a really hard time writing and typing. So, I dictated to my mom, and she would type, only adding periods and capital letters. It worked really well.”
Both young authors wrote their drafts as homework and brought what they had to their next meeting. They said they started bouncing ideas off of each other.
“We’d read what we wrote to each other and give suggestions,” Lauren-Kate said. “We supported each other and our friendship grew through this.”
Lauren-Kate said Sydney gave her “the drive to write my book. When I got stuck, she was always there to get me through it.”
The teens did much of the marketing for their books. Lauren-Kate said, “It was pretty fun. Doing the marketing actually made it seem real that we had written books.”
Sydney said that “lots of children buy the books. Lots of grandparents buy them for the kids.” Lauren-Kate added, “Our books are written for ages 7 to 12, so adults buy them for their kids.” Many teachers buy the books to use in their elementary school classrooms.
Sydney also plays basketball, as a point guard, “But I’m not going to be tall enough to be a pro basketball player.” Next year, she will attend Covenant Classical School and play basketball. In the rest of her free time, she rides her horse, named Foxie, and plays with her golden retriever, Sunny. “The dog in my books, Rusty, is also a golden retriever.”
Sydney doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. “I love science but don’t want to be a doctor or give animals shots.”
When she grows up, Lauren-Kate wants “to do something with animals and kids. Other than that I have no idea.” She leases a horse named Misty, and “I love spending time with her.”
Lauren-Kate is also a competitive fencer, fencing three nights a week and going to tournaments on weekends. She said, “I’d love to be a professional fencer but I don’t think I could support myself financially.”
Sydney is the daughter of Joel and Ann Campanella and lives in the country in Huntersville. Lauren-Kate is the daughter of Bruce and Karen Stewart and lives in Runneymede in Davidson.
Lisa Daidone is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The books by Sydney Campanella and Lauren-Kate Stewart are available at Main Street Books in Davidson, Park Road Books in Charlotte, and on Amazon.com. For information, contact the authors through their websites: www.sydneycampanella.com and laurenkatestewart.com.