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Michaela Horan’s “surreal” Rolling Hills experience

Photo used with permission by Michaela Horan.
Horan holds her copy of her second book in her hands for the very first time.

Senior, Michaela Horan is the author of the “Rolling Hills” series, and her newest book, “Rolling Hills and the Sword of Alvara,” was released on Feb. 16, 2024. Though her second book of the series came out this year, she published her first book in 2021.

After printing the book, Horan describes what it was like to hold the book in her hands for the very first time.

“It’s such a magical feeling because you spend so long dreaming about that moment and then to hold tangible proof and all of the hard work you’ve done in your hands is the coolest thing ever,” Horan said.

Though getting a book published gives a “magical” feeling, the process of writing it is hard. Horan’s friends and family supported her as she wrote both of her books.

“My friends and family are the only reason that my book exists,” Horan said. “There were a lot of times I almost gave up. My family helped me pay for some of the stuff, because publishing a book is not cheap. As a high school student, it’s hard to come up with all of that money.  Without their support that way and also motivationally, it would not have been possible to publish my book without their support.”

Along with her family, Horan gives a shout out to one of her friends who helped her with book details.

“My friend Sydney Hamilton would often help me come up with a scene, or an extra line of dialogue that she thought was really good,” Horan said.  A lot of the time when she got to edit my book I was like ‘you just do whatever you want to it, it’s yours.’”

After her book was published, Horan had her own signing at a local bookstore, where her friends and fans came to get their copy signed.

“It’s so surreal,” Horan said. “Obviously when it’s your friends and family it’s kind of fun and a little silly, but then you get those moments where it’s someone you have never seen in your life who comes up to you and buys your book. There was this one girl who came to my second book signing who was fangirling.”

Along with a book signing, Horan had her own publishing celebration.

“I had a party with all of my friends and family and it was so awesome. I had a cake with my book cover on it, which was so cool. I had decorations, balloons, and flowers. I made these badges for the classes of magic that I handed out to all of my friends at the party. It was such a special way to celebrate.”

Horan celebrates the release of her second book. (Photo used with permission by Michaela Horan)



Though social media can help get a book out there, that is not the only way Horan advertised her book.

“I contacted the newspapers when I had my book signing, and just about my book in general. They put a little something out about my book. I haven’t seen it, but people came to the book signing and said they saw it in the newspaper,” Horan said. “Other than that, social media has been my main tool, but also word of mouth around a local community travels pretty fast.”

Even from a young age, Michaela had a love for writing.

“I’ve been writing since I could walk and talk. Before I could actually write, I would draw books and give them to my parents, and I would make them write it down,” Horan said. “Somewhere in my house there are boxes and boxes of these random books that I wrote when I was younger. Since I was little I’ve always written. 

Horan explained how her parents were supportive of her writing journey.

“My dad loves to write. “[My parents] were always very encouraging of it.”

Though Horan is a published author, she has days when she does not write.

“I write a lot of music too, so I would say that’s what the majority of my time is spent on,” Horan said. “I work and I rehearse for stuff. Most of my time that I am not writing – which is most of the time – I am writing music and reading.”

Along with writing books and music, Horan has always had a love for reading too.

“I just finished re-reading one of the books from my favorite series – second to Harry PotterKeeper of the Lost Cities,” Horan said. “I could go on and on about that book series; I love it so much. I just finished the fourth book, and there are 10. I never get bored of it.”

As she explained how, along with writing, she loves music and reading, Horan describes how each of those things affects her writing.

“In my brain, there are two different kinds of writing,” Horan said. “They don’t necessarily influence each other, but I am very grateful to have two very different outlets of writing that I can use.”

For Horan, writing music and writing books are two completely separate types of writing.

“Writing books, I can escape because I am writing about a completely made up world and people,” Horan said, “Whereas music is the way that I express my feelings when I feel like there is no way to say them. I think songwriting is deciding how much of your diary you want to play people. Songwriting is the most vulnerable parts of myself, but with a cool beat. Book writing is completely made up and fun.”

With Rolling Hills being a two book series so far, Horan talks about how it was different writing book one, compared to writing book two.

“For my first book, I don’t really remember writing it because I was in middle school. I had to do so much re-working because I just wrote it and hoped I found the story along the way,” Horan said. “For my second book, I wrote an outline for it where I break down every single chapter before I write it.”

Having an outline made it easier for Horan to write the book.

“Before you even start writing the book, it is already paced out,” Horan said. “You already know what happens when. There is less that you have to figure out when you are going into a sequel.”

Stating how the first book is the one that sets the tone for this series, Michaela also made it clear that though both books are from the same series, there are also differences between each book.

“The second book ends up being a lot more mystery, and there’s a little poison involved,” Horan said. “It’s a bit of darker fantasy and the span of time throughout each book is very different.”

Horan also talked about how she relates to the main character of her book, Hattie.

“I base a lot of her personality on mine,” Horan said. “Also, I think having a main character that isn’t always perfect is important.”

Horan joked about how some people think Hattie sometimes makes the wrong decision. 

“She’s very stubborn,” Horan said, “but if she always made the right decisions, that would not be very human of her.”

Even though every book has differences, we have some confirmed returning characters.

“All four of the main characters will be back; Hattie, Misty, Fira, Illis, Arabella, Elnora,” Horan said. “The new characters will be back. My plan is four [books] right now, because there are four main characters. Obviously the first book has Hattie on it, the second book cover has Misty on it, and even though Hattie is still the main character, the second book deals with Misty’s stuff. My plan for the next two books is that the third book will be Fira’s book, and then the last one will be  Illis’.”

Some people may not realize that writing a book can be an amazing experience if you love to write, but do not always know how to get a book published.

“The first step was deciding if I wanted to traditionally publish it or not,” Horan said. “After doing a lot of research, it was clear to me that Ingram Spark was the best choice. They distribute it everywhere. They are the reason it is on every website. Once you choose the publishing website it is all up to you.”

Horan is not the only one who has evolved throughout book one and book two. Her characters have also evolved in both books, mentally and on the pages.

“When I was younger, they were younger,” Horan said. “The older I got, the more deep their thoughts are.”

Other ways of getting a book into the world is via social media. Horan described how social media helped get her book noticed when a video does well and a lot of people see it.

“It is very easy to base your worth off of how many likes you get,” Horan said. “When that’s the only way you’re reaching an audience, it’s really difficult to rely on that, because the internet is so unpredictable. But with patience and persistence,  social media is the only reason I have been able to reach so many people with my books.”

Along with advertising a book, Horan gives some more advice on how to start a book.

Horan says, “Write an outline, ‘Chapter One: Hattie,’ and a bulleted list, ‘Chapter Two: Misty,’ and then a bulleted list. The only way I will ever write a book from now on is doing that first.”

Horan has her own ways of dealing with ‘writer’s block.’

“I try not to force myself,” Horan said. “I just think it takes the enjoyment out of it. Why would you force yourself to make it unenjoyable?”

Horan has been writing for many years. In fact, even though she says she most likely will not take a writing class in college, she says that having more free time will inspire her to write her own projects more often.

“It’s hard to stay motivated, which is why I haven’t started writing my third book, because I’m busier now,” Horan says. “I wrote [the first two] during COVID-19, and I had so much free time. It’s usually my brain’s build up making it this huge thing in my head, and when I sit down and do it I’m like, ‘Oh, I forgot I like doing this.’”

Horan believes anyone can write if they want to.

“If you have an idea, go for it; just do it. There’s nothing stopping you,” Horan explained. “I think I’m proof that age doesn’t matter. Your access to big publishing people doesn’t matter. If you are determined enough, there is nothing stopping you except for yourself. Just put aside what everybody thinks and all of the hard stuff.  If you want to do it, just do it, because you will love it. And if you don’t, whatever, at least you tried. It’s better to try, and nothing comes out of it, but at least you had fun for a little bit, than to be sitting there thinking, ‘I would really love to do this, but I’m scared,’ or ‘I’m too young.’ Just go for it.”

How to find Michaela Horan on social media:

@michaelagracehoran–everywhere except for TikTok


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