First-year UVA student Schuyler Ebersol has published his first novel.
For most college freshmen, the best writing they'll do is a paper for one class or another, but one first-year student at the University of Virginia has now accomplished much more with the publication of his first novel.
The book is the first in a new fantasy series for 19-year-old Schuyler Ebersol. The young author says the story behind the book is really his road to recovery.
“When I was 15, I was going to Hotchkiss and I started these fainting spells,” Ebersol said.
It was a mysterious medical condition, eventually identified as autonomic neuropathy, that set the scene for Schuyler Ebersol's journey four years ago. “I would be fainting five or six times a day - a lot of confusion, a lot of light-headedness, not being able to see straight,” he said.
He was eventually asked to leave his high school in Connecticut, homebound from his debilitating illness. Creating an imaginary, hidden world where characters could unlock the mind's potential became his escape.
“I was going through a very difficult time and the idea that you could maybe use your mind to fix things and really do anything was a great idea for me,” Ebersol said.
He says he just started writing about a 6-year-old boy wandering in the woods. “At that point, it was a short story - two pages long - and then I wrote from the point of him 11 years later,” he said.
The pages and chapters kept evolving. “At the age of 17, he has a heart attack and slips into a coma and when he wakes up from the coma, he turns into a wolf,” Ebersol said.
The novel's main character develops abilities like manipulating the weather and turning wood into gold - imagined powers that pushed Ebersol through the pain.
“A lot of people who are struggling don't really know how to deal with it, and one way that I learned to deal with it was just to find something I was really passionate about and pursue it,” he said.
"The Hidden World" marks the first in the five-book fantasy series called “The Age of Tolerance.” The novel will be officially released December 1, but you can order it now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.