Senior Carolyn Brotherson Works to Publish First Novel

Quarantine, despite all of its faults, gave people the time and opportunity to work on long-term, creative projects. Senior Carolyn Brotherson, President of the Creative Writing Club, utilized quarantine, and the months since, to finish the final-draft of her novel. 

“It’s called The Deep Dark Valley. But its official title is The Leah Failed Cycle Number One: The Deep Dark Valley. But you can just call it the Deep Dark Valley,” Brotherson said. 

Brotherson said The Deep Dark Valley follows a group of kids in 1986 Ireland, and after disrupting a valley, hence the title, they are thrown into a magical adventure.   

“The inspiration for the story was from a Tumblr post. It was like, ‘Guys, there’s so many books and TV shows– this was when Stranger Things was popular– about boys riding around on bikes. Why isn’t there a thing with girls riding around on bikes?’” Brotherson said. “So I made the characters because I wanted to have a gal pal group, and they have their one guy friend. So instead of a group of boys with one girl, it’s a group of girls with one boy.”

Brotherson said that research is one of the most important aspects of the creative-writing process, especially for a novel like The Deep Dark Valley.

“I had to do a lot of research for my book because it takes place and is inspired by a culture that I’ve never lived in,” Brotherson said. “But I’ve been fascinated by [Irish culture] since I was a kid, so I love getting to research this mythology and implement aspects into my book.” 

Brotherson’s final draft of The Deep Dark Valley is now completed, but she’s having a hard time getting it published. She tries to remain positive though, claiming this step isn’t easy for any first-time author. She said publishing a break-out novel comes with a lot of roadblocks, and it’s a very difficult business to break into.

“It’s been my dream since I was a kid to have a book published the traditional way, so I’ve been trying to do that. But it’s really hard…It’s like an audition. You have to audition for this literary agent, who will then take your book, and then audition for publishers. So it’s like a two round thing,” Brotherson said. 

But while Brotherson continues to “audition” The Deep Dark Valley, she is working on other projects. She spends a lot of time writing music but is also starting her first full-length play.

“I really like period pieces,” Brotherson said. “So my play is set in the 1940s. And it’s inspired by 1940s music, so that’s the vibe. I’m still muddling through it. I’m only in the first few pages, but it’s exciting.” 

Brotherson said she’d like to be an author in the future, but she isn’t planning on going to school for it. She said writing is something that comes from practice, and while “Creative Writing Major ” is an option, she can be just as successful outside of a college setting. 

 “I really don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I might go into editing and/or publishing,” Brotherson said. “And being on the other side, I want to help people like me, people who want to break into it and can’t find a way to do that.” 

As President of the Creative Writing Club, Brotherson acts as a mentor for many other aspiring authors. She said her biggest piece of advice is to practice.

“[Writing] takes practice and you’re not going to be amazing the first time you write, but the more you write and the more you read, the better you’ll get at it,” Brotherson said. “And I like that because, unlike music, acting or [visual] art, you don’t have to have a specific gift. I think anyone can be a good writer if they really want it.”