The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins has inspired the minds of thousands of young adults. For 12-year-old Carolann Plank, a Brighton seventh-grader, that inspiration led her to write a novel of her own.
She recently published her first book, As Far As You Know.
Plank, who has been writing short stories since she was in second grade, said she was inspired to create her own novel after finishing The Hunger Games.
"It took me about two-and-a-half months to finish," Plank said. "Writing just comes really natural to me. I just write without knowing what the ending is going to be. I write each day and it turns into a book with a plot."
Plank said she loved how The Hunger Games was a type of book that was meant for everyone. She also said she felt a connection with Collins' main character, Katniss Everdeen.
Plank's 245-page book, As Far As You Know, is a love triangle between three teenagers. The lead character is 15-year-old Selena Coleman who is forced to raise her younger sister after their parents abandon them. There is a hint of dark secrets that threaten Serena's newfound relationship.
"The ending is definitely my favorite chapter," she said.
Plank said the book doesn't really specify where the setting takes place, but she did base the animals, trees and forests from those found in Michigan.
After finishing the novel, Plank began researching some publishing houses with the help of her parents, Brenda and Greg Plank.
They went with www.authorhouse.com, a self-publishing company. After four edits, the book was released March 23.
Greg Plank said he is in the process of reading his daughter's book.
"She made me promise not to read until we got all the books back from the publisher," he said. "I was a little surprised because when I found out she was writing a book, she was well on her way. Then the surprise gave way to being proud."
Plank is donating $1 of every book sold at Scranton Middle School to the Scranton PTO.
"I just wanted to give back to the school," she said. "The PTO puts together most of the stuff that happens, so it just seemed like the best choice."
Brighton Area Schools Superintendent Greg Gray plans on giving Plank a Shining Star Award at the next board meeting on Monday. Shining Star awards are given to students and staff in recognition of an achievement within the school district.
Gray told board members that he has a copy of the book and has read a few pages, but not the whole book yet.
"It's a great accomplishment for a 12-year-old," Gray said. "It shows a lot of initiative, creativity and a strong will to succeed. It's great. A lot of people go their whole lives without being published. She wrote a considerable book before she can even drive a car, so it's pretty impressive."
Plank will appear for book signings at Heartland Marketplace on Ford Road in Westland on Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and at Barnes & Noble at Green Oak Village Place Mall on May 18 from 7-9 p.m.
Plank's next project is to direct the movie version of her book this summer. She's held auditions and has casted several roles already.