Leo High School student Madison Turpin self-publishes ‘WIRED,’ first in a science fantasy series

Madison Turpin self-published her "WIRED: The Original Resistance" in January. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Madison Turpin signs a copy of her book, "Wired," in January at Barnes & Noble in Glenbrook Square. The Leo High School senior plans a four more books in her self-published science fiction series. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)

At a time when most high school students are trying to figure out their futures, Leo Junior-Senior High School senior Madison Turpin has started her career as a book author.

Turpin, 17, self-published “WIRED: The Original Resistance,” the first in her planned five-book science fantasy series.

“I actually started writing novels when I was 11,” said Turpin, who already had sold out of her first order of 150 books within a week after publishing them through Amazon’s CreateSpace in January. She started the book when she was 14.

Turpin has a love for language and has written for her school newspaper, The Lion’s Tale, where she’s editor, and has worked as an intern for The News-Sentinel.

She plans to double-major in writing and psychology at Taylor University.

“I love interpreting how people think and feel,” which helps in creating the dialogue for her books, she said. She’s already a third of the way through writing the second book in the series, which continues the fight of her main character, Bree McAnderson, a New York City teenager who in the year 2198 joins a group that includes other teenagers who are resisting the takeover of the country by a technology company, Joba Electronics. Joba, headquartered in Los Angeles, has its digital tentacles into most people’s lives and is brainwashing them through its monopoly on Jobphones, Jobatops and Jobacars. The second book centers on a kidnapping.

The package she purchased through CreateSpace had her working with an editing team. She’d send them portions of the book and receive back their suggestions.

“The editing took probably double the amount of time it took to write the book,” she said.

Turpin recommends that writers find inspiration in other authors’ work. She admires “Harry Potter” series author J.K. Rowling, who went from an unknown writer to international stardom. She’s also a fan of New York Times bestselling author John Green, whose “The Fault in Our Stars” novel was made into a film of the same name starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.

Turpin’s success isn’t a surprise for Melissa Fiedler, who teaches honors English and creative writing at Leo and had Turpin in her class, where the young author excelled.

“She’s an old soul,” Fiedler said. “She can identify with older people.”

Fiedler’s students don’t write essays. Instead, they’ll create short stories by personifying an object, such as describing a day in the life of a pencil.

Fiedler planned to have Turpin visit the creative writing class she has this semester, some of whom had bought Turpin’s book, as had Fiedler.

Turpin won a Gold Key for her writing through this year’s Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, her third consecutive honor. She has participated in the Appleseed Writing Project’s youth summer camps at Indiana University-Purdue Univesity and has attended a writing conference in St. Louis. She’s also active in her church, Grace Point Church of the Nazarene.