A librarian is naturally at home among stacks and stacks of books by thousands of authors. One Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Librarian, Alison Kemper Beard, has set out to add her name among those in the stacks as the author of a new young readers novel called “Donna of the Dead.”
Beard is originally from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and moved to North Carolina to accept a scholarship to Western Carolina University where she earned a Master’s Degree in English. Beard also earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science from UNC-Greensboro. She now lives in Hudson with her husband, Matthew, and one daughter. Beard has served on staff in the CCC&TI Learning Resource Center for the past 11 years.
Beard says that “Donna of the Dead” is a light-hearted, funny romance set during a zombie apocalypse that was inspired by a dream and came to fruition because of an ankle injury. “Not long after my dad passed away, I had a nightmare where I was in a building with him and we were surrounded by monsters. When I woke up, I thought, ‘Hmmm… that was kind of interesting. Maybe I should write it all down.’ At the time, I had a hiking injury and was told to stay off my feet, so I kept writing every day to keep myself occupied.”
Once she completed the novel, Beard says the next step started out as an experiment. “When I finished the novel, I queried literary agents, figuring I’d get a flood of rejections and that would end the experiment. To my surprise, I landed an agent and then a three-book deal with Entangled Teen/Macmillan.”
Beard is currently working toward completing the next two installments for the series and says she appreciates the support she’s received from the college community. “Several CCC&TI friends have approached me on campus to say they’ve bought the book for their kids or even for themselves. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support!”
Beard says that a number of people have also asked her about how to get published for themselves. Her advice is simple: “Try it! The publishing world has changed drastically in the last five years. There are lots of new options with e-books, self-publishing and fan-fiction communities.”
The “Donna of the Dead” e-book is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.