The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

Armstrong Alum Celebrates Her First Year as a Published Author

Author Alisha Emrich

Author Alisha Emrich published her first novel, “NerdCrush,” a little over a year ago with Hachette Book Group, and her next book is in the works.

Emrich found her roots in Savannah, graduating from Armstrong with an English degree in 2009. From there, she continued her studies and earned three more degrees, finishing with an MFA in Genre Writing at Southern New Hampshire.

It was here that she set her mind to writing a novel; however, Emrich admitted she had no set path.

“I knew I wanted to do something creative writing related, but I didn’t have a clear plan in mind,” said Emrich. “I was kinda all over the place.”

Emrich’s debut novel “NerdCrush” follows Ramona Lambert in her coming-of-age journey as the sixteen-year-old navigates high school after her lifelong best friend moves away.

Ramona has a passion for cosplay, giving her freedom and confidence that she can’t find in her normal life. Under the guise of her character, Rel, Ramona begins to email her crush. From there, she navigates a complicated relationship with Caleb Woolf, both as herself in the real world and as Rel online.

When it came to inspiration, Emrich said that the song “Invisible” by Anna Clendening perfectly encapsulated the story of “NerdCrush,” and she gave The Inkwell permission to share the playlist she listened to while writing.

Within the novel, students can expect to find a few relics from home, including Georgia Southern University, where Ramona’s older sister attends college.

While “NerdCrush” is written with a high school audience in mind, Emrich believes the theme of Ramona’s story is universal.

“I think the message about learning to grow into a more confident version of yourself, and just learning to accept yourself for who you are…I think that’s relatable,” said Emrich.

The Armstrong Alum also shared a little about her upcoming manuscript that follows a character introduced in “NerdCrush.”

“She is a playwright and she is goth, which you don’t really see a lot of black goth girls,” said Emrich.

“I want to show that type of character and whatever she is dealing with. I will say her story is going to be a little darker and deals with a little bit more mature themes.”

When it comes to telling the stories of black women, Emrich did not want to focus on telling the story of her race-related struggles.

“I just wanted to really show a character who is black, who’s just doing things any other normal teenager would do,” said Emrich.

Emrich did express that seeing any story  “where black kids are getting to see themselves reflected” is a positive thing, but not everything has to be “heavy or just traumatic.”

“Those stories are important, but it is also important to remember the joyful aspect of life and being who you are,” said Emrich.

“I want my stories to reflect that, and I always want to give my characters a happy ending because you can never have too much of that.”

At the moment there are no plans for a movie adaption, but Emrich will hold out hopes for the future. Check back with The Inkwell for updates on Emrich’s latest work.

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