West Ranch High School senior Jessamine Jin has always enjoyed immersing herself in a good book and has been writing since she was in the third grade.
“I just love writing,” Jin said. “It was just always something I did every night after homework.”
Like many students, Jin didn’t have as much time to spend on her favorite hobbies as she started high school, so when the pandemic left her with some free time, Jin was finally able to dive back into them.
“I started reading a lot, and it was a way for me to feel less lonely through quarantine when I didn’t really get to see anyone,” Jin added.
Her renewed passion for reading and writing gave her the incentive to share her work with the world, deciding to take the plunge and self-publish a fantasy novel she’d been working on.
“I started this novel the summer before sophomore year, but I wasn’t actually going to publish it until quarantine,” she said. “(I thought) maybe some people will enjoy it, maybe my friends will like it, and it’d be an escape because it is fantasy.”
Jin’s novel, “The Fallen Angel: A Reinterpretation of the Afterlife,” explores the theory of heaven and hell.
“I have a pretty wild imagination,” Jin said. “I’ve always really liked fantasy and had a really big fascination with different religions. I loved Percy Jackson as a kid, and I liked books like the ‘Divine Comedy.’”
The book allowed Jin to explore those fascinations, as she created her own version of the afterlife.
“In Christian theology when you die, you can either go to heaven or hell, but in mine (the idea is) what if there’s only hell and something happened to heaven?” she added.
Jin self-published the book through Amazon last month, and since then, the book’s been picking up steam.
“My friends that like reading — even the ones that don’t — they’ve been really nice and they’re really excited about it,” she said. “And I actually have my book up on this website called Booksie and it almost has 15,000 views, so I have some fans there that I’m sending the book to.”
Now as the novel hits the (online) shelves, Jin has decided to donate 100% of the proceeds to the hunger crisis in Yemen through Save the Children.
“There’s so much going on in the world … I’m so lucky during this pandemic and in general. I definitely don’t need the money, and I have food to eat every day,” she added. “It’s 2020 and it’s kind of ridiculous to me how there’s so much money concentrated in certain people’s hands. There shouldn’t even be famine in my opinion.”
In her choice to help kids in Yemen, Jin said she feels like she can make the biggest impact.
“I don’t make that much from royalties … but $1 can be the difference in saving a kid and (helping them) get their next meal, so I wanted to donate to the Yemen hunger crisis because it would make the most difference,” she said. “Being able to feed at least one kid would mean a lot to me.”
While she wishes her senior year wasn’t starting online, Jin is looking forward to college, where she can continue pursuing her dreams.
“I want to major in English literature in college, so I definitely want to keep writing,” she added. “I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing.”