MSU Profile: Student Novelist
By: Alejandra Ortega
While most Michigan State University seniors are busy trying to complete their credits and find post-college work, one student will have quite the resume when she leaves.
Samantha Stemler, a general business senior, has self-published one novel and is getting ready to prepare her second to be published at the end of the academic year.
Her book, “That Freak Kid,” focuses on a teenager named Amy, her love-interest, Jack, and their group of friends who are far from popular at their high school. This classic coming of age story consists of fighting with parents and teachers, Marilyn Manson music, struggling under the weight of insults, suicide and just finding someone to accept you. “That Freak Kid” packs a punch with its new perspective of the Goth lifestyle in high school, without running the risk of cheapening the experience.
Unlike most adolescent novels written by adults for young adults, Stemler started writing her book when she was a freshman in high school. When she was a senior it was finished. By creating a young adult novel when she was a young adult, Stemler was not short of stories to tell.
While the plot of the story is taken from real life experiences Stemler faced growing up in high school, the characters are not based completely on herself or her friends.
“You draw on what you know,” said Stemler. “You take events that really happened and you change them a little bit to make them more interesting.”
Stemler first posted the book for sale on Amazon.com for the Kindle and then set it up for the Nook on Barnes & Noble’s website. Later, she published it on lulu.com so people could buy it in paperback.
With the central theme being the acceptance and love of others no matter what you look like, Stemler manages to cater the novel to everyone who has ever felt ostracized. Young adults will immediately relate to it through events they face, while adults will be drawn in by the memories and experiences they had. The characters drive the story and are easily relatable to everyone.
“It just shows you need to realize that these people’s opinions don’t mean anything,” said Stemler. “The last person that will judge you is always yourself. If you can be the person you want to be, then it doesn’t matter what other people say because you have to live with yourself.”
After graduation, Stemler hopes to begin a new wave of marketing for “That Freak Kid” in order to potentially publish it with a more prominent company. She also hopes to publish her next story, about a genius scientist with schizophrenia and his relationship with his friend through the struggles of living with a mental disorder.
Stemler is considering publishing her second book, “The King of the Sun,” online, with free access to all readers. While the market for books does not typically provide much compensation to the writer, Stemler is not concerned about the monetary gains. To her, the price tag of one dollar for an ebook version of “That Freak Kid” is only there to ensure a person is buying it to read, rather than downloading it to maybe check out later. For Stemler, it’s “more for the love than the money.”
To read the first five chapters of her next book, “The King of the Sun,” go to Figment.com.