By fourth grade, Mahwah student Deanna Altomara was carrying around a notebook to scribble story ideas in. By fifth grade, she came up with a concept for her first novel. And now, as a 15-year-old sophomore at Mahwah High School, she’s got a published book under her belt.
Altomara recently self-published Ageless, a novel she said she’s been writing, rewriting, and perfecting for about five years.
“I’ve always known that I wanted to write, and that I wanted to publish a book,” she said. “When I first got the idea for this book, I would write all the time. I probably finished the first draft in sixth grade, but I don’t even know how many times I’ve rewritten it and edited it since then.”
In its final iteration, which is currently being sold on Amazon.com and through other online retailers, Ageless is about a girl who stops aging in the third grade. The story follows the girl’s realization that she has stopped aging, attempt to figure out why, and effort to live with the reality of remaining a third grader as her peers age.
“I tell the story blatently, as a third grader would,” Altomara said of her book.
“I actually got the idea for this from reading other books at the time, namely Twilight. I got really interested in the idea of the vampires not aging, and it grew from there.”
Altomara, who is a member of the high school’s Community Problem Solving Team, school newspaper staff, literary magazine, drama club, and more, said Ageless has not been her only writing project.
She also recently self-published Project Inspire, a book of poems and stories aimed at “making cancer patients feel better.”
Altomara said she and co-author Abigail Parker are currently trying to figure out how to sell the book and use the profits to distribute it to hospitals for free.
Altomara said she’s proud of the two books she’s written so far, and that determination is what led her through the creative writing process.
“I knew I wanted to do something big, and I didn’t let anything stop me from doing it,” she said.
“I hope I can inspire other kids to go out there and make their dreams come true, no matter what they are.”