Park City’s Nora Wall creates her own ‘Dominion’
March 18, 2018
Fifteen-year-old Nora Wall, a 9th grader at Treasure Mountain Jr. High School, is fascinated by authors George Orwell, Ray Bradbury and Ayn Rand.
She enjoys the brand of science fiction and dystopian stories they tell, so it isn't a surprise that her debut young adult novel "The Dominion" also takes place in a totalitarian world where there is no individuality.
The book, which is available on Amazon, is about 226 Veronica, a young woman who works in one of the government's basic departments. While employed, she begins to doubt about whether or not the four government-appointed Guardians — Leader, Educator, Enforcer and Caregiver — have her and her world's best interest in mind, Wall said.
"The numbers in (citizens' names) make it easy for the Guardians to track each person," Wall said.
Unlike some authors, Wall didn't base many of her characters on people she knew.
"There is one character who I based the appearance off of my sister, but it's because my sister looks so different from me," she said, giggling.
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"The Dominion" is the culmination of Wall's early years of storytelling and revealing her thoughts while living abroad in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where she attended an international British school.
"I've been interested in writing since I was 5," she said. "I think it's a really productive and enjoyable way to express myself. It's also a good way to escape from school and sports."
Still, Wall is grateful for her teachers who encouraged her writing in Abu Dhabi.
"My teachers encouraged me to write stories and poems, and I entered a few writing competitions," she said.
Most of Wall's poems were about outer space, which is another of her interests, and her short stories were all fictional works.
"I would try out new genres and styles, but I always wanted to be an author because I liked to read fiction," she said.
All of her earlier works kindled Wall's passion for writing.
"They also made me more determined to write a book," she said. "Writing a poem is different than writing a 30,000-word book."
Wall began writing "The Dominion" on her iPad Notes app when she was 12.
"I would write during vacations and breaks," she said. "I would also write very late at night when no one was awake and everything was very quiet."
While she was first drafting the book, Wall didn't have intentions of publishing it.
"I didn't think anyone would publish it or that anyone would ever read it," she said.
That changed when her parents, Lisa and Joe Wall, who both served as U.S. Army officers and helicopter pilots, read the manuscript.
"We loved it," Lisa Wall said. "We decided to self-publish it, and knew there were some things she needed to change."
So the family put the word out on a neighborhood blog and asked if anyone had self-publishing experience.
Two local authors – Gabriela Arellano, the author of the "Kena" children's book series, and Melissa Marsted, owner of Lucky Penny Press Publishing and author of children's books — responded.
Arellano was the one who recommended CreateSpace, an on-demand publishing platform that was available through Amazon.com.
"Gabby came to our house and showed us how to get started," Lisa Wall said. "When the first edit came back, [Nora] revised three chapters to make [the story] more clear."
The timing couldn't have been better for the book because a few weeks ago, CreateSpace announced it would stop all author services, which included editing, design and book formatting.
"So we got in just at the right time," she said.
Nora was surprised at how transparent the self-publishing process was.
"We had a lot more input in the whole process than I expected," she said. "We could also see everything that was happening and make the changes we wanted."
The author is also excited that "The Dominion" is available on Amazon, one of the world's largest marketplaces for books.
"It's kind of scary that it's out in public, but I'm happy that many people will have access to it and discover it," she said.
Lisa said because of her and her husband's military careers, the family's experience in Abu Dhabi and extensive world travels, her daughter's fans live around the world.
"Now, they all are buying the book," she said.
The experience has fueled her daughter's desire to write and publish another book. The challenge is finding the time to write.
"I'm not going to write a sequel, but there are a few things that I'm working on," Wall said. "It does take a lot of time. I play volleyball and I'm in track. I'm in the National Junior Honor Society and do a lot of community service hours for this club and for my church."
Wall's parents are proud of what she has accomplished with "The Dominion."
"There are many teens who get caught up in social media and things like that, but Nora is very focused and proud at what she accomplished," Lisa said. "She wants people to know that they can accomplish the same thing she did. It's been a fun process. We're looking forward to the next book."
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