On this episode of the Carlsbad People, Purpose, and Impact Podcast, Bret Schanzenbach spoke with 13-year-old teen author, Shanti Hershenson. She has published two novellas in her series, The Chronicles of Ziel DeLaine, a novel told through poetry called You Won't Know Her Name, and her debut novel, Biome Lock, which is the first book of a trilogy. Shanti lives in Carlsbad where she advocates against bullying, appears at open mic nights, and spends time with her family, friends, and cats. In this conversation, she and Bret talk about how she became a published author, her passion for stories, and her upcoming novels.
Shanti’s Journey From Pretty Scribbles to Published Stories
Carlsbad native, Shanti Hershenson, has been creating stories since she was old enough to pick up a crayon. In the first grade, she decided to write a book, which she titled The Cat and the Love. According to Shanti, “Most of it was kind of just scribbles, because I couldn’t really write well.” Nevertheless, her passion for stories was ignited and her scribbles soon became successful stories.
At the age of 11, she and a friend wrote two novellas, which Shanti wanted to publish. After researching online, she discovered Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which is Amazon’s publishing platform. She dove in, completed the necessary forms, and the books were published a day later.
Shanti’s tenacity is evident in the way she writes and publishes her works, as well as in the topics she writes about. One of the most important topics to Shanti is bullying. In fact, the first poem Shanti wrote was right after she had been badly bullied at school. Now, she recites her poems, such as her poem Needles and Thorns, at open mic nights and is an outspoken anti-bullying advocate.
When she was asked if the bullying at her school had gotten better, Shanti simply replied, “It hasn't, but I'm going to stay in the school to try to make that change, because we need anti-bullying systems and we need to get the students to feel safe.”
Shanti’s drive to overcome difficult circumstances and challenges is also evident in the way she faced the COVID-19 pandemic. She had enjoyed extracurricular activities at school and spending time with her friends, but when everything shut down, none of those things were options anymore. Nevertheless, instead of sitting at home and scrolling through her phone, Shanti decided to use her time to write her upcoming sci-fi trilogy, Biome Lock, which will be released this year.
Paranormal Activity, Alien Invasions, and Dystopian Adventure: Shanti Hershenson’s Upcoming Novels
Shanti has written five books, with more that will be released later this year. This is an incredible feat for anyone, but it is especially impressive to be as successful as Shanti has.
In fact, one of her novellas from her paranormal fantasy series, The Chronicles of Ziel DeLaine, was the number one ebook on Amazon’s list for teen and young adult horror. The overarching story follows a boy named Aaron, who stumbles upon a seemingly abandoned mansion with his friends. While they play in the front yard, they meet a girl, who they soon discover may not be human—or even alive. Shanti will be releasing the third book that details Aaron’s journey this fall.
Later this year, Shanti will also be releasing a dystopian novel, Accidental Insurgent. She wrote this novel in 16 days and finished editing it just days later. Certainly, her determination and passion for her stories leads her to produce incredible works! This novel is about a girl who lives under an oppressive government and is about to graduate from high school. However, her entire world changes when she is punished for being late to school (which is a crime in that society) and encounters tragedy after tragedy as she tries to stay alive. According to Shanti, “There's so much I can't say without spoiling it, ‘cause there's a plot twist like every other chapter of this book.”
Biome Lock, Shanti’s sci-fi trilogy, takes place after an alien invasion and tells the story of a boy named Griffin and his friends. The aliens have taken over the world and keep humans captive in biomes, which are individualized ecosystems. However, Griffin and his friends discover that they can travel through the biomes and escape. Soon, they also realize they can fight against the aliens that are holding everyone captive. Shanti’s first novel in the trilogy, Biome Lock, was released in early August. Her second book, Biome Blackout, will be released in the fall, and her third, Biome’s End, will come out in the winter.
Be sure to connect with Shanti and check out her books below!
Did you like what you heard? This show is produced by Imagine Podcasting dba Heard Not Seen Media, Inc. For more, visit Imagine Podcasting.