Centennial High School student publishes their first book

Nicole Cavey, author of YA fiction novel Realm Crashers and the Shadow King.

Centennial High School student publishes their first book

Hannah Kim

Nicole Cavey’s writing journey began on another day of English in a colorful, decorated classroom at Centennial High School. As a sophomore at the time, she received an assignment from her English teacher Mr. Rus VanWestervelt (VW) to create a short story modeled after the hero’s journey. After two months of writing, Cavey completed the assignment, coming out with a piece of 31,000 words. That was the end of the task, until she received feedback from Mr. VW recommending she have the story edited and published. 

“I ended up adding 60,000 more words for a grand total of about 91,500 words, making it a novel. I put my manuscript through editors, formatting, and found a cover artist, and my novel was self-published within a year and a half,” states Cavey, now as a junior. 

Mr. VW is Cavey’s English 10 honors teacher, the one who encouraged her from the start. “He was always there for advice, editing, and encouragement. I’ve dedicated this book to him because without him it never would have been possible,” explains Cavey.

Told through Cavey’s words, her fantasy story is about, “two teenage boys, Alex O’Connor and Micheal Barnes, from Troy, Pennsylvania. Alex yearns for life out of Pennsylvania and his wish is granted sooner than he expects. One afternoon, after a wrong turn in the forest, Alex and Micheal find themselves in a new realm. At first the world was magical, the best kind. But it is not as enchanting as they expected. There is evil lurking in the shadows of the new realm. Alex and Micheal, with their guides, must travel to the accursed Inferno Realm of the Shadow King to return home. But when things go awry, Alex must uncover the deepest secrets of the realm.”

On April 3, 2023, Cavey’s book, Realm Crashers and the Shadow King was published. With many supporters surrounding the joyous occasion, Principal Dillon of Centennial High School got her own copy, signed by Cavey, and shared on Centennial’s Instagram with much excitement. 

As Cavey experienced this opportunity during her years in high school, she states her own advice for any who is interested in writing their own story. “It’s okay if the first draft is terrible…There will always be more drafts ahead of you, so it’s best to not stress over perfection early on in the writing process,” 

Congratulations again to author Nicole Cavey publishing Realm Crashers and the Shadow King. Last words from Cavey to her readers: “Thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far. There will be more to come for this fantasy series!”


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