By THERESA WINSLOW
The Capital of Annapolis
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Elizabeth Hines doesn’t suffer from writer’s block. There’s simply no time.
The 16-year-old Annapolis resident cranked out the first book of a three-part series in a mere 10 days. “The Last Dove” chronicles the lives of people on a continent called Aeir who can change into a variety of animals.
“Ever since I was little, I thought it’d be fantastic to be something else, to turn into something,” said the Broadneck High School junior. “In my ideal world, there would be magic. People would have wings, and we’d all fly around.”
Her favorite animals, though, are big cats such as leopards or jaguars. The second book in the series, “The Black Panther,” reflects that interest. Her parents are currently reviewing the manuscript, which took about six weeks to write. It could be out by the late spring or early summer.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth is at work on the third book, which is as yet untitled.
“It’s a matter of some internal debate,” she said of the name.
She’s also plugging away at historical fiction with a novel based on the 1513 Battle of Flodden Field between England and Scotland.
Elizabeth’s credits Kelly Stewart, her 10th-grade honors English teacher, with giving her the inspiration to try writing. Stewart’s encouragement bolstered her confidence.
“Every now and then, she passed something by me and it was outstanding,” Stewart said. “She puts her whole heart into everything.”
Until she had the class, Elizabeth never thought she could write anything as good as the books she read. She enjoys everything from classic literature to young adult fantasy novels.
“I’ll read just about anything,” she said.
Stewart said Elizabeth was a pleasure to have in class — a model student always ready to help others.
“I’m so proud of her,” Stewart said. “Any teacher who has Elizabeth is really a better teacher because of her. She says I inspired her, but she inspired me.”
Elizabeth came up with the basic idea for “The Last Dove” as a 12-year-old. She’s not sure where the original concept came from, but she remembers wanting to combine all the elements she liked in other books into her own story.
She began working on it in earnest at the end of her sophomore year. She outlined the plot and dialogue in pencil in a well-worn notebook, then honed things on her laptop.
“I love to write in pencil,” she said. “You can change it, you can erase it.”
Bitten by the writing bug, she sometimes put in 12 or 13 hours a day. She put a lot of thought into the names of the characters, not wanting them to sound too outlandish or too similar to figures in other books. The heroine of “The Last Dove” is Bria.
“(Writing the book) was a lot of fun,” Elizabeth said. “I enjoy puzzles, and it was like a puzzle to try to word certain things the way I wanted.”
Elizabeth finished “Dove” in May, then gave it to her parents to look over. They liked it so much they decided to publish it themselves. It came out in late January.
Elizabeth chose to publish under the name E.S. Hines, so readers would have no preconceived notions about her. Plus, it worked for J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien, she said.
Neither her parents nor her friends were surprised Elizabeth became an author.
“She’s always had an exceptional way of viewing the world,” said her mother, Jacqueline, an engineer.
She remembers a windy day when Elizabeth was young. Her daughter looked at the woods and said, “Mom, the trees are loose.”
Elizabeth’s friend, Michaela Hicks, has always been impressed by her creative energy.
“She’s such a brilliant, gifted young woman,” said Michaela, also a junior at Broadneck.
She enjoyed “The Last Dove” and was impressed by the detailed storyline and sequencing of events.
“Some books by teens are scattered,” she said. “Her book is not. I’m waiting for the sequel.”
Elizabeth would like to continue writing when she gets older, but maybe not as a primary occupation. She’s considering a major of biophysics at college with an eye on a career as either a medical researcher or neurosurgeon.
In addition to AP classes at Broadneck, Elizabeth is in the color guard and enjoys sailing.
“I’m pretty much just a normal kid,” she said.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)