Teen publishes first book

Published 10:19 pm Monday, December 15, 2014

After writing it on her iPhone — often when she should have been studying or sleeping, she admits – a Suffolk teen has just self-published her first novel.

Anne Spady wrote “I Used to Be a Rich Kid” in 2013, between February and just before midnight on the eve of her 15th birthday in June.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy student Anne Spady has just published her first book, “I Used to Be a Rich Kid.” She wrote much of it at night on her iPhone.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy student Anne Spady has just published her first book, “I Used to Be a Rich Kid.” She wrote much of it at night on her iPhone.

“My goal was to have it finished before I was 15,” the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy student said.

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The book was published only last week, after Anne followed the advice of her CPA dad, Frank Spady, and launched her own publishing company, Barden House Press, LLC.

In the book, siblings Anthony and Adonia are regular, middle-class kids whose lives take a U-turn when the actions of a drunk driver leave them orphans.

Anne, who utilizes her middle name to write under the penname Anne Barden, said she started out with just the one character, Adonia.

“I added in her brother, then I added in more characters,” she said. “Then it just became a book.”

Not wanting to enter an orphanage, Anthony and Adonia become street kids in New York, scrounging for food and water and trying to shake the law.

“If they want to continue living on these rough-and-tumble streets, they’ll have to rely on more than their cunning and resourcefulness,” reads a blurb for the book.

Anne said she mostly wrote during the summer. During the school semester, she mostly wrote in her bedroom at night.

“I’d go to sleep at midnight, wake up at 3, work ‘til 6, then go back to sleep,” she said. “I wrote it on my iPhone, because I could shut it off really quickly and hide it under the covers.

“I probably failed a good number of tests because I was too tired during class.”

Anne’s mom, Denise Spady, said, “We knew she was doing something — she was constantly talking about characters.”

The teen said she started out writing fan fiction about, for instance, TV shows and books, when she was 12.

Frank Spady was the first to read the rough draft of his daughter’s first book. “I was quite impressed with the way she was able to describe scenes,” he said.

Some of Anne’s classmates read the unpublished manuscript, as did her eighth-grade English teacher, and offered their suggestions.

Anne also worked on the book during a three-week writer’s camp at Sweet Briar College.

“Her uncle did a lot of the editing of the book, and she hired a professional copyeditor,” Frank Spady said.

Anne says she’s working on a sequel with the same characters. She calls her work realistic fiction. “I really want to be a novelist,” she said.

“I Used to Be a Rich Kid” is available for purchase print-on-demand at www.createspace.com/5088116.

Denise Spady said they have a batch of bound copies — which will be signed — coming in the mail for Christmas, and she can be emailed at dhspady@charter.net.