Monday Profile: Student and author Regina Kim
By Lanie Anderson-Barrett
At first glance, Regina Kim seems like your typical teenager. However, she is anything but. An 11th grader at Alameda Community Learning Center, Regina is a published author, complete with a literary agent. This past February, she self-published her first novel, a science fiction thriller entitled, “Ignition.”
Her love of telling a story was the catalyst for writing, “Ignition,” the story of Megan Durham, who inadvertently causes a hospital to go up in flames simply with her mind. This realization propels her into a mystifying underworld of others who all possess unique “talents.” Little does she know that this adventure will change her life forever.
Regina has always had the support of her family, which is very proud of this budding author. Her father, a screenwriter in his youth, was discouraged from pursuing his passion for writing by his own parents. Given that disappointment, he and her mother are all that much more supportive. Regina is also grateful for the support of her sister, Angela, who she thanks in the book for buying her a dollar notebook in which she wrote the first draft.
Is this your first novel?
Yes. I’ve written short stories, but I always wanted to write something longer, like a novel, but I would start it and never finish it. But with this novel, it was different. I had a lot of motivation because my friends encouraged me.
So you let them read your work?
Yes, of course. They give me feedback about what might work better and I think that’s what really helped with my work.
Tell me a bit about your writing process for the novel.
Well, I got the idea about two years ago. At first, I got bored and then (had) writer’s block, but last summer is when I really sat down to write it. And that’s when my friends were encouraging me too and I got feedback from them. I would have “on” and “off” moments, but then it finally got going around October. That’s when I finished the first draft and I gave it to a bunch of my friends to read and they really loved it, but they said to change a few things and it would be really perfect. In December I found a publishing website. I worked with my manuscript for about two months and it finally came out in February.
You mentioned writer’s block. How do you get past that?
A lot of the advice that I’ve gotten is that you just have to keep going. Especially the first draft. You can’t think about it. You just have to finish the story first. And then you have the revision and editing process. Basically, I just forced myself to write. But it can be really be hard when you go home and there’s the TV and the computer.
And this is a self-published novel. How did you go about publishing it?
I was researching different ways I could publish it and found the website, CreateSpace, and that seemed to fit with me and it really helped me through the entire process.
Explain what you mean when you say it fit with you.
A lot of the other places seemed to be helping themselves with their own reputations, but this website wanted to help me get published.
And how did they do that?
They take you through the process step by step. They take you through the content, pictures, and cover slowly.
Do you see your novel as part of a series?
Definitely. I am currently working a little bit on the sequel, but am writing some other novels too, but I’m not sure if they will ever get finished.
What hopes do you have for this book?
Right now I’m working with my agent. I got an agent and we are trying to publish it more broadly and more traditionally instead of (it being only) self-published.
Not a lot a high school kids have literary agents. How did you go about getting representation?
I sent lots of queries to agents and people who are interested in these kinds of works and then one contacted me and said that they wanted to represent me.
And who are some of your favorite authors?
I don’t really have a lot, but I like Harry Potter and I really like series books.
What books are on your night table?
There are so many I can’t remember them all. I read several books at once, like 10. I just finished the last book of the Percy Jackson series and I really enjoyed that.
Have you had any particular teachers that have inspired you?
I would have to say that would be my creative writing teacher, at ACLC, Lora Lewis. I really loved her class and she encouraged me to write a lot. She really helped me get started.
What are your plans after high school?
I want to go to a four-year college and major in creative writing. I just want to keep writing.
Do you have any advice for young writers?
I would say just write a lot because that’s what I did. That was my number one hobby. And there are a lot of hard times, but just they are going to get better.
Where can you buy the book?
Amazon and Barnes and Noble are selling it online or you can buy it directly from me.
Probably first is the weather. And I like how everybody seems to know each other and the closeness of people. I also was really happy when the movie theater was built here because that’s where I hang out a lot on the weekends. And also, the mall, (Alameda) Towne Center.