Her novel – “And Then I Came Along” – has earned Indian Hill Middle School eighth grade student-author Lillie Waltz a Scholastic Art & Writing Silver Key Award. That is not where this young writer’s story ends. Waltz is working to get this already award-winning 60,000-word novel published! While she is reaching out to literary agents, we decided to reach out to her to learn more about this amazing student and her debut book.
Indian Hill School District (IHSD): Congratulations on the Scholastic Art & Writing Silver Key Award! Can you share a little information about the novel you wrote?
Lillie Waltz (LW): The novel I wrote is a middle-grade historical mystery set in 1922 New York City. Eleven-year-old New Yorker Adelyn Smith doesn’t have a very exciting life living in a rundown shack with her mom. It’s bad enough that her dad never returned home after World War I, and it’s even worse that she has to spend all her days at Helen Margaret’s School of Charm. But when years of searching finds her father, a visit to him finds her kidnapped by a criminal mastermind, Carson Young— and comes with the discovery of the 17-year-old sister she never knew she had. Elaine, who is a forensic scientist working for Interstellar Minds, an elite woman-led secret organization that saves the world from destruction, is determined to bring Carson to justice once and for all. Especially after he begins spreading a diphtheria epidemic around the United States that takes millions of lives. The remainder of the book is about how the two sisters try to solve the case and capture the villain once and for all.
IHSD: Wow! That story sounds amazing. What is your inspiration?
LW: My inspiration is all around me. Although obviously, we don’t live in the 1920s, I got the idea for my book in fourth grade when I was learning about the roaring 20s. I thought about what the aftermath of the war must have been for families and other people, and put that thinking together with my love of spy/mystery TV shows and books. And voila, my book was born.
IHSD: Do you have anything else you want to share about yourself?
LW: I think that my biggest accomplishment is definitely writing this book, and I hope to write many more! Also, this book only really came to life during quarantine. During the past few years, I mostly wrote a few pages and then set it aside for six months, but being at home in 2020 gave me time and motivation and something to work hard for. I think that I would never have finished this book had not been for quarantine.
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