Maggie Dunn has loved to write for as long as she can remember. As soon as she was old enough to string together a few words on paper she started creating little five-page books that were complete with her own illustrations.
Now 13 and a seventh grader at Our Lady of the Assumption School in Lynnfield, the Lynn teen has taken her writing to a new level with the release of her first book, titled ‘Loss of Words, in December. It is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the publisher’s own website, virtualbookworm.com.
“It’s about a writer who is ready to retire. Everything is going well. He writes a story, comes back the next day to get everything done and the story is gone,” Dunn said. “He thinks his assistant has stolen it and plans to sell it. He fires the assistant, who has been very loyal for a very long time, and then he gets a phone call later saying the assistant has unexpectedly died. This leads him to think it’s his fault so he tries to find out what actually happens. This leads to some very unexpected twists and turns”
Dunn said she geared the book toward those a little younger than she is, but said anyone can read it.
“It has reality, but it also has fantasy. It kind of ties the two together, which is something I really like,” Dunn said.
Dunn said she has tried to write books in the past with the intent of getting the published, but this is the first one that came together.
“They failed because I had nothing to say, or the story wasn’t as interesting as I thought it was going to be,” said. “It took a couple of years to write a book that i liked.”
Dunn started writing “Loss of Words” in December 2013 and finished it about six months later. The toughest part of the process, she said, was the editing. Her mom and her grandparents read the book and offered up suggestions.
“They’ll tell me if things make sense,” Dunn said. “Sometimes something will make sense in my mind, but when other people read it it doesn’t make sense in their minds so I try to clear things up and make it more interesting.”
Dunn said when she received the first copy of the book in print she was thrilled.
“It was very, very exciting,” she said. “I had been talking about it for so long, to actually have it happen was vey exciting.”
Although Dunn, who saved up her own money to have the book self-published, could make a little money if it sells (it’s listed at $9.95 and she receives a couple of dollars for each one sold), making money wasn’t her motivation.
“I just wrote it for the experience,” she said.
Dunn’s mom and dad, Nikki and Chuck Dunn, are proud of their daughter’s accomplishment.
“We have a box full of all these books and little stories she wrote,” Nikki Dunn said. “One day she just came out and said ‘I finished my book.’ She did it all on her own.”
Neither parent knows where she got her love of reading and writing.
“I cant’ take credit for that,” Chuck Dunn said. “We’re just very proud of her perseverance because it wasn’t easy for her to complete this.’
Dunn said she doesn’t know what the future will bring, but she thinks it will involve writing. Her more immediate plans include finishing up at Our Lady and then going to Bishop Fenwick (both her parents went there) for high school. Dunn has two sisters, 15-year-old Sam, who goes to Classical High, and 10-year-old Katie, who attends Shoemaker.
When she’s not writing, Dunn enjoys acting (she recently played Scrooge in OLA’s production A Christmas Carol and she’ll be involved in a production at Grace Methodist Church in the near future. She also takes dance (ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary) at LeAnne Leslie’s School of Theatrical Dance and she and the rest of her family are also skiers.