Novelist in the making

Thursday February 7 2013


Sarah Lampkin '12 has already written two novels - Dead Dreamer: Freshman Year is published as a Fantasy Kindle ebook - and she is working on a third, which is pretty unusual for a recent college graduate. 

Sarah was a communication studies major with a minor in popular culture, and is quick to admit she was anything but typical. She didn't party or date, or as she puts it, "I've got too much work to do to worry about all that drama."

She wrote her first novella in the 11th grade, a Christian fantasy in which the heroine got her powers from God to kill demons. Sarah said the novel was about answering the question: "Can you keep your faith with all the bad things happening?"

Sarah had her own faith tested at the end of her sophomore year when her mother died. Six months later her father had a heart attack. She had already started work on a fantasy series the end of her freshman year, but the loss of her mother from breast cancer and scare with her father's health slowed her progress.

Her creative process is linked to a combination of metal and classical music, she said.

It's really music that gets me thinking," Sarah explained. "When I start writing a book, I'm literally seeing it in my head like a movie, and I just write down what I see played out.

Dead Dreamer is described this way on Amazon: Eighteen-year-old Brenna Harp is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It's something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret's out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.

"Sarah is building an interesting scenario," said Dr. Mike Robinson, one of the professors she has shared her book with. "She's very conscious of trends in fantastic young adult novels and she's finding a slightly different and entertaining spin. Sarah has thought pretty carefully about what's out on the market. She is a driven student. Her determination suits her well as a writer."

Sarah envisions a four-book series, one for each year of Brenna Harp's college life. Sarah said she got her inspiration from fantasy novels by Kelley Armstrong. She hopes to have 50 copies of the book printed in paperback and sell them in Lynchburg and Richmond. Sarah hopes her fantasy series will one day become a series of movies.

"I have read her books and absolutely love them," said Dr. Annette Evans, assistant professor of religious studies. "She has got real talent and I can see her getting those books published in the near future."

Sarah is now applying to graduate school for a master's program in copy writing. She is continuing work on her fantasy series and working at K-95 in Richmond. "I am a workaholic; I get it from my dad," she said.

Learn more about Sarah's book on her website.