Local 14 year old writes young adult novels
Nyala Honey talks about her two books at Explore Booksellers
For The Aspen Times
Basalt’s own Nyala Honey, 14, has published two young adult novels.
Think about that a sec. Already she’s among the tiny fraction of aspiring authors of all ages who see this dream realized.
Perhaps it helps that she literally has a backstage pass to all of the artists, authors, actors, and creatives at TACAW since her dad, Ryan Honey, is the executive director.
Maybe it’s the fact that she and her cousins write plays and perform them for their enthusiastic family, or that a lot of Honey’s friends like to write.
Or maybe she’s just darn creative — and productive: When she’s not in school or writing, she’s playing softball or another sport, practicing violin or drums, or performing onstage as an actress and singer.
Whatever the explanation, her two books, “Coven of the Silver Moon” and “The Silent One,” tell compelling stories revolving around hope and redemption during difficult times.
She’ll talk about and read from them at Explore Booksellers at 2 p.m. next Thursday, June 8.
Her first book, “Coven of the Silver Moon,” follows Dolo Morgan as she transforms from a homeless orphan to learning that she’s destined not just to become the leader of a magical coven, but also a heroine who’s fated to heal the world. Within the 126-page story, she learns about her mother’s prominent role in the coven and develops a sense of family, but conflict soon arises as members of the coven turn against her.
In the book, she draws from a real-life experience of rafting and falling into the river when Dolo gets flipped under water.
“I thought about what I could add and what could happen that would change the story,” Honey said. “It’s moments like that when you have an event or a feeling that inspires something huge.”
Though her parents are still very much alive and supportive, the main character’s parents have died in both of Honey’s books. She chose the setback as a jumping off point to cause readers to root for the characters from the beginning.
“Characters are more relatable when they have struggles,” she said. “They start at a really low point and continue to grow and never give up.”
She wrote her second book, “The Silent One,” during the dark days of the pandemic, with questions like, “What if we can’t make it through?” rolling around in her mind. As a result, it depicts a dystopian world in which a pandemic has destroyed the United States as we know it. A queen tracks movements of every citizen through technology, while a silent killer extinguishes one person every night. Within the chaos and despair, a group of teens and young adults take it upon themselves to find out who the killer is and demote the queen, in service of their country and the people they love.
“Everyone faces some type of adversity, and I want to show readers that whatever adversity you’re feeling, it always comes back to having hope, having courage, and surrounding yourself with people that will help you get through it,” she said.
Honey definitely experienced her fair share of challenges completing the books. Her first took about 13 months to write and went through four to five revisions, while her second underwent more than 10 revisions but only took seven to eight months to write. Her grandma, a former teacher, helped her edit the books. The two met over FaceTime for months as her grandma suggested ways to improve the books.
“The most challenging part was editing because I had worked so hard on writing and creating the books, and I felt so proud of them, and then I had to edit them; and (at times), I felt like they weren’t good enough. There were so many times I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. It taught me about perseverance. It was hard to do day after day. It can be a bit degrading, but overall, it’s so great because you learn so much, and you learn that it’s all for the better.”
Friends designed the cover of “Coven of the Silver Moon.” Her dad helped her work with a professional to design the cover of “The Silent One.”
In addition to giving author talks to support her books, Honey has started her next book, based on a dream she had. It revolves around a girl who never felt a sense of place because her father’s military commitment required constant upheaval. When she finally settles into an area she loves, she encounters deeper, darker threads running through the town.
Honey continues to find inspiration at TACAW, which she credits for encouraging her to do what she loves by watching role models carve careers out of their artistic talents. She also continues to write and perform with her friends.
“We like to be creative together. Everyone that I have surrounded myself with feels that way,” she said. “It strengthens bonds you have as friends. When you create a story or a piece of art, there’s a sense of pride that you will share with them for many, many years. You have that shared emotion for the rest of the time you’re together. Their ideas make your creations better because of others’ point of view. I didn’t write with anyone else, but a lot of my characters were inspired by people I know, and they’re not far off from what I’ve experienced.”
If you go…
What: Basalt resident Nyala Honey reads from her two young adult novels
When: 2 p.m., Thursday, June 8
Where: Explore Booksellers, Aspen
More info: explorebooksellers.com
On a recent September Saturday morning, I awoke with an intense yearning to lose myself in the mountains, disconnect from cell service, and rediscover why I decided to call Aspen home in the first place. Standing there, at the Cathedral Lake trailhead, I knew I was right where I needed to be.