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Aura Coffee hosts first book signing for university senior

Aura Coffee hosts first book signing for university senior

Aura Coffee hosts first book signing for university senior
July 22
13:00 2022

Creative writing and media arts senior Sydney McClellon said her earliest memory is of her writing. The 22-year-old recalls being in middle school and penning stories in journals she would get at Barnes and Noble. She said her mom says she has been writing since she was even younger.

“It’s pretty much just been something I’ve been doing all my life,” McClellon said. “I’ve been doing it naturally as early as I can remember.”

McClellon released her first book, “Fool’s Gold,” last spring. The story follows a poor young woman in Victorian-era London. As she works as a maid to pay off debts to the richest man in town, she uncovers secrets about her employer and colleagues. The book was inspired by British period dramas McClellon would watch in high school.

“My writing inspiration can come from pretty much anywhere,” McClellon said. “Whether it’s through other books and films or something I dreamt about, I’ve found stories everywhere.”

The writing process for “Fool’s Gold” began when McClellon was 15 years old. She said it took her about six years to fully develop the plot because she was still growing as a writer and learning more about topics discussed in the book. McClellon said the years dedicated to completing her book made its official release in March 2021 more meaningful.

“When it finally arrived from Amazon and I got to actually hold it for the first time, it didn’t feel real at first,” McClellon said. “I actually had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I was like, ‘I actually made this, this is basically my baby right here.’”

She said while the publication process was not always easy, her love for writing and her characters kept her committed.

“One of the quotes I kind of live by is, ‘If you do something you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life,’” McClellon said. “I’ve kept doing what I love and now I’m doing my first book signing.”

Over a year after the initial release of “Fool’s Gold,” McClellon held her first official book signing at Aura Coffee on July 16. She said the event was the first of its kind for the venue as well. McClellon said this made the signing feel more special, as there was a lot of trial and error in finding a place to host it. 

McClellon said the book signing was important to getting her work out there and getting to know others who have already read it. She values praise and constructive criticism from writers and fans of her work because it further supports her writing.

She said, similar to when she first published her book, knowing she held her first book signing did not feel read at first. McClellon said being able to share her creative work in such a personal way allows her to form stronger connections with her audience. This level of connection and relatability is what attracted McClellon to fiction writing, as it can accomplish and tackle so many impactful topics.

“A lot of the reasons why I write and put out this content for people is because I enjoy it,” McClellon said. “But at the same time, being able to share my content, especially with people who can relate to it, […] I feel it can help them be seen – that means a lot.”

McClellon’s friend Dominique Weaver, 22, said it was inspiring to see McClellon succeed in what she was going after by organizing her own signing. She said this event was natural for McClellon to host, as all art is meant to be openly offered to its audiences.

“Artists create for themselves, yes, but art is also meant to be shared because it has meaning and it can resonate with someone who needs it,” Weaver said. “With any art, I think the meaning is up to the person who interprets it. In that sense, what I want people to take away from her writing is something they didn’t know they needed because there is something to be found within the pages.”

Another friend of McClellon, Anastasia Logan, 23, said McClellon sharing her work so openly shows she is passionate about the stories she tells and wants nothing more than to ensure everyone gets to experience them. She said she hopes others can connect with the book’s relatable and hopeful themes, as that is what gives it its edge and interest.

“Every character she creates is going through a self-journey and has to overcome numerous challenges,” Logan said. “Even when the going gets tough they are persistent until the end. I think we can all have more of that positive messaging in our lives.”

McClellon plans to release the second part of “Fools Gold” in December and hopes to continue writing for several filmmaking projects. She said she is so attracted to storytelling because it grants people like her, who may not be able to speak about their stories, a chance to create something unique.

“My thing about storytelling is that everyone has their own story to tell,” McClellon said. “[Storytelling] has really helped me start to discover my place in life. I hope [my readers] can just find something similar through my stories.”

book signing-4Sydney McClellon signs a copy of her book on July 16, 2022. Kristian Freemanbook signing-3book signingbook signing-7book signing-2book signing-5
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A display poster for Sydney McClellon's "Fool's Gold" sits on a table during her book signing on July 16, 2022. Kristian Freeman

Featured Image: Sydney McClellon sells and signs copies of her book on July 16, 2022. Photo by Kristian Freeman

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Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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