Palm Beach County student publishes novel

WELLINGTON, Fla. – When you walk into a high school library, you expect to see books by hundreds of authors.

But at Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, one of the authors is one of their own.

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Dozens of students lined up Thursday for an autographed copy of “70 Meters” about a floating city called New Atlantis. The author is their own classmate, 16-year-old Ryan Snider.

“Rather ecstatic is really the only word to describe it,” Snider said. “I wrote a book, got it published. People come here to support me. It’s amazing.”

Author Stephen Kozan released Snider’s book after a virtual tour with students at Palm Beach Central High School last year.

“They become writers for the day and submit a one-page fictional story idea,” Kozan said. “After that, I collect all the flash fiction, select the finalists.”

Snider’s flash fiction was the first chapter of “70 Yards,” and it’s what won him the publishing deal. After about a year of hard work, he produced a 281-page novel.

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’70 Meters’ by Ryan Snider.

Kozan said he chose Snider’s story because his creativity and imagination just came off the page.

“I believe it works for the future, for colleges,” Kozan said. “If you can say, I published a book, that’s a big deal. So I see myself more as an incubator publishing company that can help propel students into new opportunities in the future.”

Snider’s passion for writing began years ago with his twin brother.

“I started writing seriously in middle school. And back then it was just me, my brother, my friends, and my teacher,” Snider said. “But now I see all these other people I know and don’t know asking me to sign their books, and it’s kind of like it didn’t completely sink in.”

But the teenager admits his creative process sometimes gets him in trouble.

“An idea that comes to mind, if I don’t have my notebook, I pull out my phone and type it,” Snider said. “And they always say, stop texting! Quit social media! And I don’t. I write. I have an idea.”

Snider develops a relationship with his characters.

“They’re the ones telling me the story,” Snider said. “So whenever I have writer’s block, they don’t talk to me. They don’t tell me the story. So I have to dig deeper. I have to find out what’s going on and then they’ll start to to speak.”

“We have amazing students at this school,” Principal Darren Edgecomb said. “I beam with pride.”

With his principal, family members and classmates around him on Thursday, Snider said he hopes this is just the beginning.

“I currently have 10 other story projects I’m working on, including the sequel to this book,” Snider said. “Another series that me and my brother co-wrote.”

So while this is Snider’s first book signing, it certainly won’t be the last.

Kozan is visiting other schools in Palm Beach County this week and holding his editing contest nationwide.

To purchase a copy of “70 Meters”, Click here.

Irene B. Bowles