Marietta College student writes teen novel with 9/11 twist

Marietta College frequently invites the community to events celebrating the publication of new books written by faculty members. On April 13, the College will host a somewhat different book event, because the featured author - pen name Amanda Celeste - is a student at Marietta.

Newly published author Amanda Celeste Del Zotto '08 will be on hand April 13 from 2:30-5 p.m. at the Marietta College Book Store to sign copies of her novel, The Sam Diaries: Soundproof Town.

The Marietta College event kicks off a tour of appearances Del Zotto will make to support the marketing of her book, which was published by iUniverse. Del Zotto has a second area book event scheduled for April 30 at Borders in Grand Central Mall, Vienna, W.Va.

The daughter of Mary Ludvik and Joseph Del Zotto of Marietta, Del Zotto has been writing short stories for as long as she can remember.

"Writing is a good way for me to express my feeling about certain issues. I consider writing to be very therapeutic for me, so I don't plan on throwing in the towel anytime soon."

An international business management major studying French, Spanish and Chinese at Marietta, Del Zotto says her academic pursuits complemented her writing. Her classes at Marietta College helped her make the book sound more realistic.

"The political science classes that I have taken so far have helped me understand the situation in the Middle East more," she said. "That was very important when creating the main terrorist in my novel."

Del Zotto's action thriller is geared toward the juvenile fiction market. Set in a small, southern Ohio town where not much of anything happens, the story tells of two plucky teens who risk everything to foil a terrorist plot.

The events of 9/11 were part of Del Zotto's motivation to write the book.

"I remember the feelings I had when I found out that the United States was brutally attacked, and that a great number of people had died; those feelings were anger and a sense of helplessness," Del Zotto said. "I knew that at the fresh age of 15 (her age at the time) there was probably not a lot I could do to help put a stop to terrorism. I wanted to make some kind of release not only for myself, but also for other kids, and young adults. I wanted to write about teenagers fighting terrorism - and winning!

Del Zotto is already hard at work on a second book in the Sam Diaries series. She has a total of five books planned, following the main characters through further adventures.

"I always wanted two main characters," Del Zotto said. "I felt it was important for one to be a guy and the other to be a girl. I didn't want to write a book with just all girls because then guys would think it was just some chick novel, and in fact it is not. My entire family assisted me when it came to making up the characters' personalities. I was very pleased with the outcome."

In addition to the Marietta College Book Store, The Sam Diaries is currently available online through amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.