By Natasha Muhametzyanova, Contributing Writer
Put on your reading list a book that was inspired by people around you. West Liberty University alumna Amber D. Tran recently published her first novel, “Moon River.”
The book follows the growing friendship between Abigail Kavanagh and Ryan Mills, two children growing up in West Virginia. The novel discusses issues of bullying, mental illness and poverty.
“’Moon River’ is actually inspired by true events,” Tran said. “It includes real-life moments with fictional twists. A lot of my closest friends and family helped me write it.”
Tran graduated from WLU in 2010 with an Associate Degree in English. While at WLU, she received mentorship from associate professor of English Dr. Steve Criniti and professor of English Dr. Dave Thomas. One of Tran’s most memorable experiences at WLU was a racquetball match with Thomas.
“Dave Thomas once destroyed me in a game of racquetball and by destroyed, I mean, I may have scored about three points in four games. That is hard to forget,” Tran said.
Tran later continued her education at West Virginia University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with Bachelor’s Degree in English.
Despite years of practice, becoming a novelist was not easy. The process took many years and tested Tran’s patience and skill.
“At times I lost faith in writing and didn’t produce anything for weeks,” Tran said. “I struggled with confidence in my content and writing style. Luckily, I was able to overcome these challenges and reach the finish line.”
“In total, my book took about four years to complete,” Tran added. “I wrote the first draft in about a year and polished multiple drafts over the course of three years.”
Years of writing taught Tran one thing that she now tells every aspiring writer, “Don’t stop. Always, always produce content, even if it is silly and only a few words or a scribble on the back of a Walmart receipt,” she said.
Tran works in a variety of genres and publishes essays, short stories and poetry. Prior to releasing her debut novel, her work was featured in literary magazines, including Spry Literary Journal, Sonic Boom Journal and Calliope.
Tran currently works as a senior technical writer and team manager for a software company and is gathering ideas for a new novel.
“I have a few projects in mind,” Tran said. “One involves a bed and breakfast and another one involves a sort-of body swap after a death out of queue. It will take a few years to write my next novel.”
While waiting for another capturing story to come from her, pick up Tran’s “Moon River,” which is now available on Amazon.