Teen who wrote and published her own novel shares her journey

Written by: Sarah Chase

Author Mel Torrefranca is only 17-years-old and has already written and published her own novel. Torrefranca is also the founder and editor of Lost Island Press, a publishing company based in San Jose, California.

Torrefranca is the author of “LEAVING WISHVILLE”. She loves hearing from her readers how much they love her story. It makes her days and keeps her motivated. That is why she has a writing process to help her produce her best work.

“I start with a simple idea, expand on it to create a basic outline and write the first draft as fast as possible, within the first 30 days,” Torrefranca said. “The editing process is where I spend the most of my time. It is messy, but it is extremely rewarding.”

“LEAVING WISHVILLE” was a very long process. It took Torrefranca about two years to write, edit and publish her novel. She faced some mental battles when it came to her writing talent. She was very fearful, but overcame all of her doubts and struggles.

“While I was working on the story, I struggled believing in myself and my abilities as an author,” Torrefranca said. “I forced myself to put my work out there and it turned out to be an amazing decision. Publishing my book has really improved my confidence in writing and I am so excited to share more about the books I am currently working on.”

While gaining confidence in her writing, Torrefranca also had to overcome writer’s block. Many writers have experienced and still experience creative blocks when it comes to their novels.

“Writing a book is extremely challenging. I hit writer’s block often, especially during the second draft. My strategy was to try to write through it and if that did not work, I would take a break for a week to clear my mind,” Torrefranca said.

Torrefranca also has a YouTube channel where she documents her journey. She currently has over 2,000 subscribers on the site and uploads entertainment content, but also content about writing. She has writing videos titled “7 Tips for Teen Writers” and “Answering your questions about plotting, editing, and other writer stuff”. Her entertainment content includes “Creative Ways to Earn Money as a Teen” and “Throwing my dog a (pretty lame) party for his 11th birthday”.

“YouTube was originally a place to post videos for my family and friends for fun, but my writing related videos have really taken off. I currently create videos on writing, entreprenuership and lifestyle. I hope to inspire others to pursue their own creative interests as careers.”

Torrefranca currently has a book trailer for her novel on her YouTube channel. “LEAVING WISHVILLE” takes you on 14-year-old Benji Marino’s journey to figure out what happened to his father 10 years ago when he disappeared. Because of the disappearance no one believes life outside of the small town of Wishville is survivable. Benji’s only option after his sister claims to know information no one else in Wishville knows, is to leave the town and gain his freedom.

“‘LEAVING WISHVILLE’ is a young adult magical realism novel. The setting was inspired by small towns here in Northern California, specifically Guerneville. I also knew I wanted the story to take place before eighth grade graduations. Coming up with characters came fairly naturally to me,” Torrefranca said.

Torrefranca’s favorite author is Victoria Forester, a canadian author who wrote “THE GIRL WHO COULD FLY”. After reading that novel at 10 she knew that writing was something she needed to put more passion into.

“I loved it so much that I grew determination to finish creating my own stories. From then on, I took writing a lot more serious,” Torrefranca said.

She took her passion and ran, but not without a few challenges. Torrefranca has always written, ever since she was seven, but she was never able to start and novel and finish it.

“I had always loved writing, but I struggled with finishing projects. I committed myself to finish ‘LEAVING WISHVILLE’ no matter what,” Torrefranca said. “That was the motivation that kept me inspired until publication.”

Torrefranca plans to continue to write and to grow her publishing house. She has plans to help future writers with their work and their publishing. She is very passionate about the writing art and she will continue writing and publishing more of her work.

“Writing is definitely one of my greatest passions and I am positive I will continue sharing stories for many years to come,” Torrefranca said. “I also hope to simplify the writing process for other writers through my hybrid publishing house, Lost Island Press.”

Purchase “LEAVING WISHVILLE” here: https://meltorrefranca.com/leaving-wishville/

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