Writer / Julie Yates
Noblesville High School senior Hannah Williamson is busy participating in many second-semester activities. Interests during her high school years have included art, piano, cross country and speech team. As a board member of the mental health organization Bring Change to Mind, she organized a canned food drive to benefit Angels’ Attic in Arcadia. However, there is an aspect of her life that is atypical for a person of her age. She is the coauthor of two self-published, young-adult fantasy novels, and is currently in the midst of writing a third book.
Along with her father, Noblesville East Middle School Assistant Principal Robert Williamson, she began working on the first book, “Raulin’s Oath,” in 2019. It was self-published in 2020 and followed by “The False Prophet” in 2021. The third book in the Palidonaya Chronicles trilogy, “The Wolf, the Thief and the Scoundrel,” is set in modern times while the first two are set in the recent past.
Williamson became an avid writer as soon as she could read. She traces her love of storytelling back to the tales her dad would tell her at bedtime when she was a toddler. His stories transported her to a different world and spurred on her desire to develop her own ability to craft fiction.
“I’ve always wanted to be an author,” Williamson says. “When I was in fourth grade I hand-wrote a 100-page book. Later I began writing different versions of the stories my dad had told me when I was little. I asked him if we could work together on a book.”
The first two times she asked her father to collaborate with her, he said no. Then, right before her freshman year, he was moved to say yes when she presented him with the prologue of the first book. The first draft of the resulting novel took two months to write, but the finished product took more than a year.
“A big thing I learned is that the first draft doesn’t have to be perfect,” Williamson says. “We ended up doing six or seven drafts before we sent it to the person that we hired to edit it. We started off by looking for a traditional publisher, but although we did receive an offer, we decided to self-publish it. It was a challenging process to format it correctly, but as self-publishers we had total control over the project we had spent so much time and love on.”
Derek Ruble, an East Middle School social studies teacher, was chosen to illustrate the covers of both books. As soon as Williamson and her dad saw his first draft, they knew he was the correct choice. The second book cover features several photos overlaid together. Both covers convey the essence of the trilogy, in which a young girl suffering from a serious illness travels to an alternate realm to seek healing and then has a riveting journey home.
When writing the books, both Williamson and her father would produce alternating 1,000-word blocks. This forced the plot to move at a fast past to keep the interest of young-adult readers. Character traits were developed through the action-packed prose, which in turn served to merge the writing styles of both authors. For the second book, Williamson’s mother Lesa helped with the editing.
Both existing books have Facebook pages named for their titles and have developed a following. The Williamsons have participated in book signings to promote the books. During a signing held at East Middle School, Williamson was delighted to have the opportunity to answer questions and later read some writing samples students shared with her. Gal’s Guide to the Galaxy hosted a signing in August. Locations and times of future signings will be posted on Instagram @writingtimewiththewilliamsons.
“Raulin’s Oath” and “The False Prophet” are available through Amazon in print and Kindle Unlimited formats.
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