Seton Hill alum publishes young adult novel

Imagine working two jobs, being a full-time student with extra curricular responsibilities and writing a novel. Aja Hannah, a Seton Hill University (SHU) alumni who just published her first novel “Zarconian Island” with Curiosity Quills Press, spent her last year at SHU doing just that.

“It wasn’t like I had to make time to write. Mostly, I do what I want in life, and writing is the thing I like to do so I do it a lot,” said Hannah, who graduated with a bachelor’s of art in creative writing and journalism from SHU in 2011.

“Zarconian Island” is a young adult novel that mixes romance and adventure as the main character Attie, a descendant of a magical race who once lived in Atlantis, gets trapped on a tropical island with some classmates.

“I decided I wanted to write a novel and then I was like ‘Okay, Aja. What do you like?’ And I was like ‘Strange superpowers, but not like superhero-y. And uncharted islands and prehistoric animals and Atlantis.’ So I wrote that. Then, the characters started falling in love and making their own decisions and becoming their own people, and I was like ‘Um, okay. We can do that too,’” said Hannah.

As a creative writing and journalism major, Hannah gained experience in various styles of writing. She was a section editor for the Setonian and editor-in-chief of SHU’s literary magazine, “Eye Contact.”

“My journalism experience broadened my writing voice. I am better able to write different characters, different points-of-view and even different texts. Like adding the ‘nonfiction’ website piece to the first-person POV narrated story,” said Hannah.

Hannah, an active blogger at ajahannah.blogspot.com, has been completing a “blog tour” by having her book featured on various blogs.

“I loved “Zarconian Island”! It was a great story with a very unique premise, and characters that were so easy to fall in love with,” said 33-year-old blogger and author Jessa Russo.

Hannah recently accepted a new job as a librarian on the Big Island of Hawaii. “Zarconian Island” also has a sequel in the works that, according to Hannah, should be even better than the first.

Hannah’s publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, is an indie publishing house that started in 2011.

 “With readers, bloggers and aspiring authors playing such an important role in published authors’ success in this new publishing climate, we realized it might not be such a bad thing to share the publishing reigns with them. When readers, writers, bloggers and everyone in between get involved in the excitement, publishing becomes a collaborative process in which everyone ultimately wins,” said Lisa Gus, operations director.

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