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Chicago teen becomes published author

  • Deborah Scott, a 16 year-old North Beverly resident, released a collection of her poems, "The Colors of Me", on April 23. It is available through bookstores nationwide.
Deborah Scott, a 16 year-old North Beverly resident, released a collection…
June 10, 2013|By JoVona Taylor | RedEye

You can forgive Deborah Scott for not imagining her passion for writing would lead her to becoming a published author.

She is just 16 years old, after all. But she has indeed already written her first book.

“When Tate publishing sent me a letter in the mail saying that they wanted to publish my book, I was so surprised,” the North Beverly resident said.

Scott said writing was something she always thought of as a hobby, but when her eighth-grade teacher at Foster Park Elementary School, a Chicago Public School on the South Side, gave her and her classmates journals for free writing, her writing talent became evident, and members of the school decided to enter her into the Young Authors Competition.

Her book “The Colors of Me” won second place in the competition for Area 16 in 2011, and soon after Deborah Scott’s mom, Carolyn Scott, had it copywritten and sent to Tate Publishing & Enterprises, a Christian-based mainline publishing organization.

“It was the first publishing company that I contacted, and three months later we had a contract,” said Carolyn Scott, also a resident of North Beverly and an educator.

Carolyn Scott said she first noticed her daughter’s talent as a writer when she wrote a book titled “Sunny Isn’t Sunny Anymore” for a fifth-grade school project.

Carolyn Scott said she always tried to encourage her daughter to write and frequently took her to Wrightwood Library to check out books and participate in programs offered at the library.

After realizing the impact Deborah Scott’s writing could have on other young people, Carolyn Scott had to convince her daughter, who was not interested in becoming an author, to allow her to look into getting her work published.

“When it comes to writing, she goes way out of the box, and she really understands life as a teenager,” she said.

Donna Chumley, associate director of book acquisitions at Tate Publishing, said she was surprised by Deborah Scott’s level of talent after her mother revealed the teen writer’s age during their initial conversation.

“Her ability to connect with the reader is that of a mature writer,” she said. “Tate Publishing is blessed to have a young talent like Deborah Scott come our way.”

With the help of Chumley and others at Tate Publishing, the young author released her first book, “The Colors of Me,” a collection of her poetry named after her favorite poem in the book, on April 23, making Deborah Scott an author before even graduating high school.

“I wanted to target the younger generation,” she said. “I really want them to be able to relate to the book.”

She added that the inspiration behind many of the poems in her book came from her encounters with other teenagers and her feelings toward things that are happening in the world.

Her poem “The Perfect Lost” is about how some teenagers start off on the right path but get attracted to the wrong crowd, which causes their lives to go downhill, an issue Deborah Scott said she has noticed amongst many teenagers.

“One of my mom’s students read ‘The Perfect Lost,’ and she told me that it touched her because she felt like she was the perfect loss,” she said. “It makes me feel really good to know that teens are reading my book and it makes them want to change.”

Now going into her junior year the private New Luther High School, Deborah said she wants to balance her life as a teenager with her commitments as a published author and continue to inspire other young adults through her work.

She will be holding a book signing at The Lighthouse Church of All Nations, which she also attends, in August.

“Our hope for Deborah is that she will be able to use this book to increase her platform as an author,” said Jim Miller, marketing representative for Tate Publishing. “I would love to see her grow as a speaker and teacher, whether formally or informally.”

Deborah said although writing is something she loves doing, she is not sure if she would like to pursue it as a lifelong career.

“I enjoy working with children, so I might become a teacher or open my own daycare [center], but I’m not going to stop writing,” she said.

She also encourages other young writers to embrace their talent and not be afraid of letting people read their work.

“I was so nervous about what other people would think about my poems,” she said. “But after I started to let people see them I became a published author.”

Carolyn said her daughter is working on a second book geared toward young children, which she hopes will also be published in the future.

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