Gulliver Student Publishes Her First Book (on Amazon!)

Gulliver Student Publishes Her First Book (on Amazon!)

By Communications Specialist, Grades 9-12, Maegan Azpiazu

At the age of 16, Prep student Nicole Nixon '19 found herself with an impressive and unique bragging right – she was a published author.

Nicole, who spent her younger years in Bermuda before relocating to Miami at 13, published her first book, Fire Within: Part 1, just before she turned 17 this past summer. An action adventure fantasy story that chronicles a cat's adventures around London, the book was released on Amazon on November 10, 2017.

Nicole's inspiration? A simple class assignment. "There was a creative writing assignment I had in year six back in Bermuda, which is around fifth grade here, and it was about the adventures of this cat all over Bermuda," Nicole said. "I thought that was really fun so I wrote about it. I got a writing award that year and just had so much fun with it. A year or so later, I went to London, and that's where my book is set. I really liked London and I imagined a cat going around the city having all sorts of adventures. I remember thinking, 'Oh I couldn't possibly write a book, but it would be fun.' My mom was like, 'Why can't you write a book? Of course you can,' and then I thought, you know what? I'm going to try."

It took Nicole about a year and a half to write the book, and another two years to publish it. She quickly discovered that writing and editing were just the first two steps on the way to publishing a book. "I had a big list of agents to contact, but it was really hard because I was 14 and no one really wants a 14-year-old," Nicole said. "One of the reasons it took so long for me to publish is because I kept getting frustrated and thinking it was too hard. So, I would put it away for a few months and then pull it out again. Eventually I found Amazon's CreateSpace [Independent Publishing Platform] for self-publishing. But even then, there were so many things to think about like, who was going to design the cover? I ended up doing it myself on a Word document."

Nicole persevered through setbacks and frustrating times, and set a deadline for herself. Her goal was to be a published author by the age of 17. "When an adult does something it can be impressive – but then, when a kid does the same thing, it's even more impressive," Nicole said. "So I thought, 'The younger I do this, the cooler it is.'"

Nicole, who is taking five AP classes this semester, has been a Gulliver student since the eighth grade. She points to Academy Middle School English Chair and International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) Curriculum Coordinator Maria Gonzalez as a major supporter of her work. "When I told Ms. G at the Academy about the book, she literally printed out the entire almost-300-page document and read it. She kept saying, 'you're going to do this,' and when I left eighth grade she told me, 'I look forward to reading your published books.' I gave her an autographed copy."

Nicole is currently in the process of editing part two of her book, as the original book was long and she decided to split it into two parts. She dedicates part one to her own cat, Oria, who has been a part of the Nixon family since Nicole was six years old.

Outside of writing, Nicole enjoys water skiing, reading and math. She aspires to attend the University of Chicago or Northwestern University and plans to major in math.

"When I get tired of open-ended, what is life-type of questions, I want to go to math, where there is a formula and one specific answer that isn't debated," Nicole says. "But sometimes, I do like thinking about those big questions, so that's when I go back to writing. It's really about how I feel."

Fire Within: Part 1 is available in paperback on Amazon and can also be checked out of the Academy or Prep libraries. In the coming weeks, the book is expected to be available on Kindle.