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Oak Harbor author visiting for a spell

Author and former Oak Harbor Middle School student Brittany Geragotelis, center, returned home to speak to students about following their dreams. Two of her books have been published, and she has more projects in the works. - Sara Hansen/ Whidbey News-Times
Author and former Oak Harbor Middle School student Brittany Geragotelis, center, returned home to speak to students about following their dreams. Two of her books have been published, and she has more projects in the works.
— image credit: Sara Hansen/ Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor Middle School students had the opportunity to meet a former student turned successful author last week.

“Remember this day, and keep it in your head for a long time because you might be the second OHMS author,” said Alice Mikos, an OHMS teacher librarian.

Brittany Geragotelis returned to her former school on Oct. 18 to speak to students about becoming an author.

Geragotelis  had met with Oak Harbor High School students earlier that day. Her two books “What the Spell” and “Life’s a Witch” have been published, with the third “The Witch is Back” coming out next year.

Geragotelis wrote her first book, totaling 100 pages, when she was 15. She told students that she considered this her first book because it was first story she’s finished.

Before she had notebooks and notebooks of stories she’d started, but never completed.

After graduating from college, she went to work at American Cheerleader Magazine in New York. Geragotelis still found time to write fiction.

After work, she’d go home and write until late in the evening.

“I was writing books no one was reading because I loved writing,” Geragotelis said.

Geragotelis didn’t sugar coat how hard the industry could be for the students.

“About 98 percent of this industry is rejection, but that’s how it is for a lot of creative endeavors,” Geragotelis said.

She said she did take a six-month break at one point, but the drive always came back to her.

“It’s that nagging sensation at the back of your mind that you need to tell a story,” Geragotelis said.

When she asked if the students had heard of Wattpad.com, about 15 students raised their hands, indicating that they were already on the website.

This is where Geragotelis was discovered because her “Life’s a Witch” book had 18 million reads. She encouraged them to look her up on the site so they could follow each others’ work.

Wattpad.com is a self-publishing website where writers can post their work, and others can read and comment on it. It has an anti-bullying atmosphere so it’s a positive place for writers, Geragotelis said. It doesn’t let any comment get posted like YouTube.

Even though many of her fans had already read the book for free, they still clamored for a hard copy.

“People who love books want to hold it in their hand, and have a tangible story they can lend to their friends and put on their shelf. They want ownership of that story,” Geragotelis said.

Now that she signed a deal for a series of three books with Simon and Schuster, she is able to write full time. Her writing goal is 10 pages a day, seven days a week.

Geragotelis did end with one last piece of advice for the aspiring students.

“Don’t let people dictate your future or your dreams,” she said.

 

Community Events, April 2014

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