Chasing a dream: Rhinelander teen pens and self-publishes her first novel
By Eileen Persike, Editor.
Back when she was just a “kid,” Samantha Hoppe was a voracious reader. She would devour teen fiction, classics, adult fiction – anything, really, reading cover to cover, in the car, after school, in any free time she could find.
“When I get into a book I can’t put it down,” Samantha explains. “I would bring the Twilight series with me everywhere; I have never read the Harry Potter series so I am just starting those now – I’m so busy that I pick them up whenever I can. When I get into them I can’t stop.”
Now, only five or six years later, Samantha is hoping her writing will be the novel du jour for readers of all ages. Her first book, a self-published novel titled Chasing the Fog has made the 2015 Rhinelander grad a minor celebrity around town.
“The main character, Allison, has a family tragedy and goes to live with her grandmother for the summer,” is how Samantha explains the plot. “The whole story is about her evolving and coping with what happens to her family and it’s kind of like a journey; she has to find and fix herself…and there are some twists and turns along the way.”
Wanting to write something that would appeal to everyone, which, Hoppe admits is impossible; she created her ‘Allison’ as an 18-year old in a sympathetic situation.
“My grandmother and her friends have read it, and my mom’s friends,” she said. “Everyone has lost someone or something that meant something to them so I think that everyone can relate to it. It could be characterized as Young Adult, but I think everyone can read it and get something out of it.”
Chasing the Fog began as an Independent Study course last fall, Samantha’s senior year at Rhinelander High School.
Approached by English teacher Allison Johnson with the idea, she jumped at the chance to test her writing skills, and to work with a teacher she also considered a mentor and a role model.
“I actually started it before my senior year, maybe thirty pages and then I just wrote it all year long and just finished it in June,” Samantha explained. “It took about ten months. I think I could have worked on it and tweaked it forever.”
She wrote for two or three hours a day, always in one of the local coffee houses. To the young author, the time spent didn’t feel like work. She would walk into the Crimson Café or Northern Coffee Haus, place her coffee order and turn on the computer without knowing what was going to come pouring out of her fingertips that particular day.
“I’ve always – I have about ten story lines going through my head a day,” according to Hoppe. “When I was younger I would write like three chapters and then wouldn’t finish them; maybe because I didn’t think I would ever write a book, even though I have always wanted to.”
Whether Samantha Hoppe will become a household name remains to be seen. But the author credits her love of reading for getting her this far.
“I don’t think I could have written a book if I didn’t read as much as I did. I feel that I pulled writing styles from other authors,” Hoppe said. “You can really have a different life when you read. I wanted people to feel something when they read my book; the ability of an author to do that is very powerful.”
The Hoppe family printed only a handful of books at first, for relatives and friends. A second printing of 30 quickly dwindled to one, so another 60 or so were ordered and are expected to arrive by mid-September. As soon as Chasing the Fog was at the printers, however, Samantha didn’t know what to do with herself. She had a need to write, so write she did.
“I am possibly working on a sequel,” Samantha said with a grin. “To me the characters are such real people, so it would be pretty easy to pick up and continue. But it may not be a sequel, either.”
The current big thing in this author’s life is beginning her freshman year at UW-Stevens Point where she is considering an English major with a teaching certificate and perhaps a minor in journalism or creative writing, or both.
“I know that whatever I do it won’t take away from my writing – I can always write.”