Katie Pfotzer | Echo
Sometimes, that one spark of inspiration makes a passage of Scripture come alive.
That was what happened to Hope Bolinger, '19, when she sat in a Biblical Literature I class with May Young, assistant professor of biblical studies, in the middle of a 70+ slide lecture on Daniel.
"She mentioned that Daniel and his friends would have been teenagers when they were taken into Babylonian captivity and essentially started their three year education," Bollinger said. "I was sitting there stunned. They are 15 and 16 years old. They are being plucked out of their culture into a culture that is completely different from anything they have ever known and they are being coerced to conform to that culture but they still stand strong, they are still standing up to the king himself."
This event was the catalyst for Bolinger's inspiration.
As a professional writing student, she took this inspiration and turned it into a book which is now being published by Illuminate YA Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books.
"It's a modern day Daniel that's dropped into an American high school," Bolinger said.
The plot revolves around sophomore Danny as he attends his rival school after his old high school was burned down. Danny must discover who the mysterious arsonist is before they can do anything else.
Junior Alyssa Roat acted as a sometimes editor and sounding board for the project. She believed strongly in the immediacy of the novel.
"I've always resonated with the book of Daniel, but this modern-day version makes it so accessible," Roat said. "I think young adult readers will identify with her real, flawed teenage characters in their messy struggle to survive in an antagonistic world. That's what I love about Hope's writing: it's so real. She doesn't shy away from hard topics. She faces them head on, acknowledges life's mess, and offers hope."
Others also share this confidence in her story.
Linda Taylor, assistant professor of professional writing, shared her opinion on the book after having Bolinger in the program.
"When I heard that Hope Bolinger was writing a series of books taking the Daniel story and putting it into modern times, I knew it would be something special," Taylor said. "And indeed, it is. Even though you know the Bible story, 'Blaze' will keep you turning pages as you watch events unfold, as you cheer the faith of four brave students, and as you wait to see how Bolinger will tell the story next. Bolinger is creative, funny, and engaging. 'Blaze' does not disappoint."
After graduating from Taylor in January, Bolinger began work as a literary agent for Cyle Young Literary Elite. She is also doing administrative work for Serious Writer Inc.
Though this is her first published work, Bolinger has written 17 novels in total. What Bolinger took away from this process was encouragement to others.
"If anyone wants to pursue a dream, it really is possible," Bolinger said. "It takes a lot of lot of years and a lot of hard work but it really is possible."
"Blaze" by Hope Bolinger comes out June 3, 2019. Preorder is available on Amazon at https://t.co/ch2zeTPwfa.