Senior Jessamine Jin publishes original novel, donates proceeds


Alyssa Chang and Brooke Johnston

   Senior Jessamine Jin hasn’t always been an open book. However, on July 24, she introduced her secret talent to the world: she published a novel. 

   The young author’s novel, “The Fallen Angel,” is a dark fantasy centered on Seraphina, a witty demon on a mission, and Kato, an angel who is swept along on her journey. The story is a fast-paced adventure, but the writing process wasn’t: she spent a year drafting, editing, formatting and publishing her masterpiece. 

   Jin didn’t just publish the book for herself—she’s going public for a cause. She is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from her novel to help stop the Yemen hunger crisis via the charity Save the Children. 

   “For each book that is sold, I don’t earn too much money,” she explained. “I feel like two or three dollars would make the biggest difference for the Yemen crisis because it could feed a child. It could mean the difference between life or death, so I thought I’d be able to make the biggest impact through that charity.”

   Jin’s love for writing was born in her elementary school years. She won the Young Author Award for an original short story that was published in her elementary school library. Her “hyperactive imagination” kept her exploring the artform, and she quickly realized it was the storytelling medium for her.

   For Jin, writing fantasy novels has been an escape from daily life as she places herself in the point of view of the  character she is creating and thinks,“What if I made this decision in this scenario?” When she is writing, she becomes someone else and doesn’t worry about her current life and difficulties. She loves the freedom and creativity involved and wants readers to feel like they are escaping into her world without thinking about reality. For her, writing is “like a virtual reality video game—you get to design your own world, you get to make your own character decisions.” 

   Although she kept her passion a secret from nearly everyone for years, it’s no secret that she is a Varsity athlete, high-achieving student and dedicated volunteer. So, how did she find time to write a book?

   Jin spoke about her online presence and how it helped her maintain a steady writing pace. She gathered an online audience and set a goal to post a chapter every Sunday because “it’s all about consistency if you want to keep your views.” 

   She never truly stops writing because her imagination rarely shuts off, and she can’t sleep until she writes her ideas down.

   “Sometimes in class, I’ll get inspiration from what we’re reading, and then I’ll think about that and I’ll come home and write. When I’m done with homework at like midnight, I go back to my computer and write for a couple of hours. Is it the healthiest? No,” she laughed. “But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.” 

   Even though she wrote for an average of six hours per week, following through with her ideas didn’t always come easily. Jin encountered and broke  through writer’s block several times and, harder still, tried to find the courage to share her writing with others. 

   “The most difficult part of this whole process was finding the confidence to be able to share it with other people,” Jin admitted. “Even when posting my writing online, I was scared that people were going to think that I’m weird or if this is a little too much.” 

   Jin’s brainchild drew inspiration from unique sources, both within her mind and external art. 

   “It’s a very mythology and theology type of book,” she explained. “The biggest inspiration from another book would be from ‘The Divine Comedy’ by Dante [Alighieri], and that whole aspect of purgatory. I’ve always had this question—what do I think it’s like?” 

   Jin used Google Docs to write her book and suggested that writers wanting to publish an ebook use Kindle Create to format it. In addition, Jin recommends exploring the website Fiverr since they have amazing cover designers. 

   After she poured a year’s worth of blood, sweat and tears into “The Fallen Angel,” she finally got to hold the book in her hands and read it for pleasure. From a reader’s perspective, her favorite character is the protagonist, Seraphina. Jin thinks “she’s the best person and makes the most reasonable decisions.” On the other hand, Zelda, the queen of heaven, was her favorite character to write because of the suspense and buildup surrounding her character. 

   They say the best writers are avid readers, and Jin is no exception. She shared some of her favorite books with The Paw Print.

   “The first book that made me cry is ‘Island of the Blue Dolphins.’ I think I read that in second grade, and I still kind of want to cry thinking about it,” she said with a nostalgic gleam in her eyes. “The best book series I’ve read in the past couple of years would have to be ‘Red Rising: the Trilogy’ by Pierce Brown.” 

   If you’re someone who’s always dreamed of writing a book, Jin has some advice to help you achieve your goals.

   “My suggestion is to ‘Just do it.’ If you have an idea, just start writing,” she said simply. “Don’t start thinking about whether it’s a good idea or not. When you start thinking like that and never start writing, you’re never going to finish a book.” 

   As for Jin’s future goals, she has plenty.

   “I want to write a really long series like the Game of Thrones, which I’m working on right now,” she said happily, smiling at the possibilities the future holds. “I also want to write a historical fiction book and see one of my stories turn into a movie.”  With Jin’s talent and determination, it’s only a matter of time until her dreams come true. 

   The Paw Print looks forward to and cheers on Jin achieving all of her goals and success as a young writer.