Lehigh University sophomore and 2019 Fleetwood High graduate Emma Eggleston wrote and self-published a novel amid the pandemic.
Over the past eight months, while remotely pursuing her journalism degree with a Latin American studies minor, Eggleston wrote “Less Invisible.” The book was published as a Kindle ebook on Oct. 29 and as a paperback on Oct. 31.
“I really hope firstly that it entertains (readers) because I think we could all use an escape from reality right now, but secondly, I hope that my book might illuminate some of the societal issues impacting young people in this country such as homelessness, drug addiction, and mental health disorders,” Eggleston said.
Synopsis: Life hasn't been easy for Jemma. She grew up on the streets raised by her impoverished mother and left school after the seventh grade, but she does have one thing going for her. She was born with an incredible singing voice. As Jemma strives to make a name for herself, she realizes that fame and success don't always solve your problems - especially when you have to deal with a bad boy for a best friend, a perfectionist manager, and a boyfriend in one of the biggest boy bands of all time.
Eggleston started writing “Less Invisible” during her first semester of her freshman year at Lehigh University. At the time, she was taking pre-requisite classes and fulfilling other requirements.
“I was actually a bit disinterested in my classes that first semester, and when I was a kid I always wanted to write a book so I just started writing whenever I needed a break from homework and eventually it became a book,” she said. “But now, I feel like all of the writing advice I'm getting at Lehigh is super helpful and I feel like I've made a lot of great connections there.”
She found inspiration in many different forms, including documentaries, music and her Berks County roots.
“Some of it came from my own personal life experiences, but I was also inspired by some documentaries I watched. Additionally, I took inspiration from some of my favorite songs,” she said. “In fact, I have a song that I associate with each chapter.”
For example, she associates "It's Nice to Have a Friend" by Taylor Swift with the first chapter and "Rescue" by Lauren Daigle with chapter 17.
While her characters are not based off real life people, Eggleston said that of course there are parts of different people's personalities that she wove and combined to create her characters.
“I would say that the music teacher in the story, Ms. Katie, was sort of a conglomerate of a lot of great teachers I had while attending Fleetwood Middle School.”
Growing up in Berks County played a big role in the development of her book. There are some scenes in the book that take place in Pennsylvania, so she used her first-person experience to describe the setting in those chapters.
“One of the things I absolutely love about Berks County is the beauty of the landscape and the natural world that we can so easily access here,” said Eggleston.
During the resolution of the book, the two main characters take a therapeutic camping trip in Pennsylvania and they have a transcendentalist experience there, she said.
“I feel like whenever I'm outside in Berks County, whether it's taking a hike in Nolde Forest or just wandering around the Kutztown Park, it really renews me and afterward, I always feel like I have a better sense of clarity in my life and that's exactly what happens to my characters.”
Her future goals and aspirations are to continue writing.
“I'd love to do more creative writing. Someday I would like to write a picture book in addition to writing more adult and juvenile fiction. After graduation from Lehigh, I plan on looking for work within the magazine industry,” she said.
“Less Invisible” is now available for sale as a Kindle ebook and a paperback.