UNC senior Kristen Brown, who writes under the pen name K. R. Brown, released the third book in her series of superhero novels in January.
The young adult fiction series currently consists of three books that tell the story of a group of superheroes in Charlotte, which is near Brown’s hometown.
Brown said she started writing the books for fun and at first did not plan to publish a book or create a whole series. She started writing the first book for the series, "The White Dove," when she was in the eighth grade, and eventually published it in March 2016 when she was a junior in high school.
“The 10th grade was when I actually got interested in writing it again,” she said. “And when I read what I had written in the eighth grade, I deleted all of it immediately, started over and ended up writing my entire first book.”
After being encouraged by her family and feeling confident in her work, Brown decided to self-publish her book through Abbott Press, an online publishing company.
“I was proud of the world that I created and I loved all the characters in the story, so I wanted to share them with people, and creating this book was my best way to do that,” she said.
Brown said she realized she wanted to create multiple sets of characters but was not ready to work with an entirely new set of them yet.
“So I wrote the third book before I wrote the second one, which has caused me no small amount of hassle,” Brown said.
The second book in her series, “The Gladiator,” which introduces a new set of characters, was published in July 2017, leading up to the release of “The Hunt for Elemental” this year.
UNC graduate Sabrina Zirkle, Brown’s roommate, said she enjoys getting to see her friend’s personality through reading the books.
“There are just small details in the books that I can tell are definitely quirks of hers that I picked up after living with her for a few years, like a breakfast or snack choice of a character,” she said.
To keep spoilers in their apartment to a minimum, Zirkle quietly admires Brown’s writing abilities.
“I think she does an excellent job of creating characters that aren’t just reflections of herself,” Zirkle said. “I can tell that she puts thought into creating characters that have different motivations and outlooks”
Sonny Kelly, one of Brown's professors, shares a similar positive opinion of Brown's writing.
“The work that she produced in my class was so artful and beautiful and thoughtful and sensitive that I would have told her she needed to become a writer if she wasn't already doing it,” Kelly said.
He was so impressed with Brown’s ability to write in both a thoughtful and authentic way that he felt compelled to keep his eye on her as a student.
“There are difficult things that have been around us that we just don't know how to put into words, but people like Kristen do,” Kelly said.
Brown is currently working on the fourth book in the series and said she plans to write many more in the near future.
“I love being able to express myself and create something that is truly my own,” Brown said. “I get to create this new world and all these stories and characters and then share them with people through my books.”
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