By: Matthew Eng
Just a few weeks ago, d.tech freshman Samantha Mah, held a book signing for the publishing of her first ever novel, Fourteen and Facing It. The novel follows 14-year-old Adalyn, who appears to be fearless, but actually has emetophobia, or a fear of vomiting or anything related to it. As she enters adolescence, she is faced with high expectations, moving to a new school, and many other challenges, all the while trying to handle her phobia, which feels impossible to avoid.
Mah, who has “had this phobia for almost [her] entire life or almost as long as [she] can remember,” was inspired to write Fourteen and Facing It because of her experiences dealing with emetophobia. Mah says that, “It’s really hard dealing with something that people don’t understand—especially ‘cause a lot of people mocked me for it and they were like, ‘Oh that’s not a real thing; you can’t be afraid of that,’ even though it is real.” So then, “one day, [she] just started writing it and [she] didn’t think that it would even get anywhere but, I… wanted to let people know how I felt.”
Mah faced multiples challenges writing Fourteen and Facing It, encountering two writer’s blocks where she became “so annoyed” because of her lack of progress. Mah also had to juggle school, violin, and martial arts while writing Fourteen and Facing It, making it, “really hard to find the time to write everyday and stay consistent.” Mah said that, “it’s hard to stay motivated,” because “sometimes you just want to give up and start something new because it… gets boring after a while” and “then you kind of just push through it.” For writers who become bored, she recommends to “try writing something new with the intention of getting your brain to think outside of the box”
Luckily, publishing wasn’t too difficult. Mah opted to self-publish, because “basically anyone can self-publish.” She said that “the process wasn’t that stressful.” The process includes paying a small fee to a copyright organization and the work automatically gets copyrighted. Mah describes the effort involved in publishing Fourteen and Facing It as, “pretty small compared to actually writing the book.”
As for anyone aspiring to become an author, Mah stresses that it’s important “to be persistent.” She emphasizes that “Anyone can write a book as long as they have determination and they’re willing to commit to it.” Fourteen and Facing It is available for purchase as an eBook on Amazon or you can buy the paperback version from her website at samanthamah.com.