As a young girl, writing had always been part of her life. There had always been that spark for her, that eventually turned into something bigger than herself. A passion that undeniably took her far.
College student, Brynna Williamson, published her own book at the age of 17 titled “Over the River and Through the Woods,” a book about loss, love, and perseverance “written in the eyes of a 13-year-old.”
“Over the River and Through the Woods” encounters the story of a teenage girl who, along with her siblings, must go through harsh trials as they cross the Old West to make it to her grandma’s home, with catastrophic events trailing behind them.
“It’s just always kind of been there for me,” Williamson said. “I just look around life like it is a story, like things click into place. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen ‘The Lego Movie,’ but you know how all the pieces were always floating around? That’s how it is for me. I watch it like it’s a movie.”
When her mom gave her a list of classes for her homeschool program, she was automatically intrigued by the creative writing class and instantly wanted to learn more about it.
“Basically, the curriculum is where in one year you plan out, like extensively plan out, your book and end up writing it over the course of one year,” Williamson said. “So, I decided to take the class and it took me so long. It took me like four hours a day to do this, like it was extensive planning, but I’m glad I did it.”
She started writing her book at the age of 13, but took a break in between and continued writing during her class. In the end it took her about two years to complete it, before she decided to get it published.
Attending the Great Homeschool Convention in Dallas, an annual convention that provides different workshop sessions and speakers, Williamson took courage to go up to one of the booths and tell them she had a manuscript she wanted to publish.
“I went up to Stones in Clay Publishing, now my publisher, but she wasn’t there,” Williamson said. “Her assistant gave me her email, I emailed her, and she emailed me back and had questions. She asked me if I had had anyone edit and if she could give me feedback, she said it looked interesting.”
After years of going back and forth receiving suggestions and comments from her publisher, and Williamson making the necessary changes, they had settled with a final draft. Her publisher sent it in to get printed, and it was a waiting game after that.
“It was so weird,” Williamson said. “It was silent, and I was like ‘I’m done’” and I was jumping up and down squealing and then I was crying. It was amazing.”
Williamson revealed her favorite part of writing her book, which was actually coming up with the book title.
“It was summer night and I was walking in the door and it was like bam,” Williamson said. “Because it is about a girl and her siblings travelling across to their grandma’s house, so I’m like, “Over the River and Through the Woods'' because it makes everyone think, ‘to grandmother's house we go,’ so it’ll stick in their heads.”
She also recounted the story behind the main character's name, Caroline Elizabeth Darley, and why she chose the name.
“My very best friend's name is Caroline,” Williamson said. “We were moving away and so we were kind of sad about that, but this is while I was writing the book. I decided I was going to have the main character have her name, but she didn’t know anything about it at all until I had it published. I handed it to her and she was so excited, so that was kind of a big surprise.”
Williamson said her biggest inspiration is God, her grandpa and her parents. She also had advice for anyone who is thinking of publishing their own book.
“Go for it,” Williamson said. “I’m just a regular person who was blessed to have it published. There are people out there literally wanting to publish your book, so you’re not doing yourself any favors by not asking. There’s no harm in trying.”