To those who know Annabelle Healy, this moment was only a matter of time.
A line of more than two dozen people, adults, kids and teenagers, waited patiently in the Parker Lutheran High School gymnasium Oct. 9 to receive a signed copy of Healy’s first novel, “Far Below Human Eyes.”
Healy’s first novel is a culmination of her high school writing career that began her sophomore year, when she won her first Scholastic writing award. She received an honorable mention for three other submissions, including “Far Below Human Eyes,” in the nationwide competition as well.
Healy contracted with Morgan James Publishing this year and the novel will be available for purchase April 27, 2021. The book is available for preorder on Amazon.com.
“Far Below Human Eyes” is a novel about a teenager named Harold who lives in a miniature world and must capture a dragonfly. When he fails, things spiral out of control for Harold and he finds out he’s not like everybody else. The novel is the first in a series, Healy said.
Healy was inspired by memories of playing in the pond of her childhood home and trying to catch dragonflies.
“That was a setting that I knew to a tee. I just decided to make it the setting of my book. I loved little things as a kid,” Healy said.
The 17-year-old Lutheran High School student had a knack for writing and storytelling since she was young. Healy’s father, also a writer, recalled moments when she would act out entire character dialogues when she was a child, speaking for both parts of a hypothetical conversation.
English teacher Diane Hollenbeck called Healy her “sister wordsmith” and “sister lover-of-literature,” a testament to a relationship not often found between teacher and student.
“I think that Annabelle sees the working of words differently than perhaps other students do, and she can see how they can be manipulated and chiseled and combed to make somebody feel what she’s feeling and make someone see what’s in her head,” Hollenbeck said. “That’s a gift.”
The day before Healy’s book signing event, Healy was baptized in Christ. Now, Hollenbeck added, they are also sisters in Christ.
Hollenbeck said Healy is not only an inspiration to her peers in the Lutheran High writing club — which Hollenbeck said is one reason the club has grown in recent years — but to everyone, including herself.
Healy’s advice to her fellow authors: put in the work.
“There were a couple of years where I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and wrote for a half-hour or 45 minutes before school or just cut out certain times during the day,” Healy said. “A lot of people have the desire and inspiration of writing a book, but the actual doing it is so hard. I’ve failed so many times, but there’s a couple times I’ve stayed consistent and that’s how I’ve been successful.”