When she was younger, Reagan Jennings never enjoyed writing. She remembers one long piece at the end of her fifth-grade year, followed by the encouragement of her McGuffey Sixth Grade Center teacher Vickie Robbins being the two things that pushed her to become more interested.
“It’s really been this year that my teacher made me love it more. She’s really been my whole writing inspiration,” Reagan said of Robbins.
Reagan, who is 12 and lives in Danville, already has written a book, the first in a series that she hopes to publish one day.
“I don’t care about the money or anything,” she said smiling, explaining that she wants to know that her books have impacted someone.
Her mother, Kim, explained that Reagan constantly writes. Part of this newfound love, they said, probably comes from her love of reading.
“Ever since Reagan was a baby, we would read to her,” Kim said. “She has just always (read). It just comes so natural to her.”
In Reagan’s eyes, reading is important for being a good writer because it encourages her imagination.
“Reading may be completely 100 percent boring, but it’s worth it in the end to have those thoughts,” she said, with a smile.
Her favorite style of writing leans toward fantasy and adventure. Reagan said she loved the “Hunger Games” books by Suzanne Collins.
Excitedly, she describes the process that follows her writing, explaining that some suggestions come from friends or others but some often are unexplained.
As she writes, she pictures the scene in her head, as if it were a movie playing out, the characters moving through the story, which she weaves and expands until it “just flows” with the rest of the piece.
While she writes because she loves it, Reagan also hopes that someday others will read her books and stories and become invested in them, the way she is with some of her favorite books.
“I want (readers) to become attached to the people I write about,” she said.
Even though she hasn’t yet been published, Reagan won first place for her school in Lincoln County’s 2012 Soil Conservation District essay contest, going on to place third overall at the county level, with a piece about conserving wildlife and respect for the forest.
She also is trying to get involved in school and community activities, by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and Harvesting Hope, as well as playing piano, tutoring and participating in archery, band and theater.
Even though she hopes her writing will be published someday, she admits it’s too soon to know what she wants to do with her life.
She enjoys science and thinks a career in forensics could be interesting.
Until then, she’ll continue writing and striving to get her book published, waiting for the day she’ll see her name in print and hoping people will say they love her books.