Getting your work published is a difficult task. Getting it self-published is even harder. But that hasn’t deterred senior Linnea Garcia, who has just released her first novel “The Healing Pool.” You have to work hard to stand out in the literary field, but Garcia demonstrates that perseverance through marketing and confidence in one’s writing can be rewarding in many ways.
“Magic exists,” she says, “but not in the way that you think.”
So Garcia explains one of the key themes of her book. A lifelong writer and “Lord of the Rings” enthusiast, Garcia’s first novel is a fantasy tale geared toward young adults. It tells of twelve-year-old Gira and her younger brothers, who enter a world of magic and monsters on a quest to save their injured father. Unlike an ordinary fantasy, however, Garcia does not see the realistic and the magical as so far divorced from one another. Rather they intertwine in mature and interesting ways.
“The aspect of war in the book is much more like the real aspect of war,” she explains. “Compared to the fantastical heroic aspect of war—instead there is death, there is trauma, there is PTSD. It’s much darker.”
That said, Garcia still set out to have fun and write an adventure story. She has been writing ever since the fourth grade. Despite some success as a writer of poetry and short stories during her middle school and high school years, she has only recently returned to the novel form. The impulse was triggered by a viewing of the first “Hobbit” movie. She began writing over the winter break of her sophomore year and finished by the summer.
Although writing was her creative outlet as a child, in high school and through the beginning of her college career Garcia turned to music. She plays the clarinet and will graduate with a degree in clarinet performance. While she says she will always love music, her time at Lawrence has transformed her affection into more of an academic appreciation. Added to this, frequent chronic pain issues have caused her to reflect on music as a life passion. She decided that professional musicianship was not something that she was emotionally or physically equipped to pursue. This reflection in effect influenced her return to writing as a career path.
“The whole process of writing and publishing this book has really brought out this passion,” says Garcia. “I’ve rediscovered what it was like when I was little and gone back to my first love. I still want to play and be involved in music, but it just also exacerbates the pain.”
Garcia jokingly refers to becoming an author as the start of her “second starving artist career.” However she may choose to describe herself, she just recently completed the rough manuscript for her second novel. So at the least she is on her way to becoming a prolific starving artist. Her post-college plans are to move to Chicago, support herself in child care jobs, work on her writing in her free time and hopefully get involved in a chamber ensemble or two as well.
“The Healing Pool” is available for purchase on Amazon, but if you want a copy and see Garcia on campus, simply ask her for one. She always carries a few extras around with her in her trusty book bag.
Garcia will be having a Q&A session and book signing in the Mudd Library on January 22 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Books will be available for $12.