Local graduate sets new novel in Northwest Colorado
CRAIG — Imagine the United States is filled with a minority of people capable of magic, the country has been ravaged by war and is ruled by a president who has eliminated Congress to become a dictator and Steamboat Springs is the final refuge for persecuted witches and wizards.
New author Jessica Prather’s “The Traitor’s Crux” is a young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel that imagines such a scenario.
“It’s a crazy journey. Kenadee, the main character, is swept up in government and politics,” Prather said.
The book, published by Oftomes Publishing, is scheduled for release Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Prather was born and raised in Craig, where writing is a family tradition — Craig Press columnist Diane Prather is her grandmother.
“I remember when I was a kid, she had this really cool typewriter, and I used to watch her,” Prather recalled.
Their relationship encourages one another.
“I call her and talk with her about writing and books. It’s great to have writer friends, because it is such a lonely thing. It’s especially great to have writers in the family,” Prather said.
She works part-time as a second-grade aid at a school district in Vernal, Utah.
“I find time to write whenever I can. I try to make a schedule for myself; otherwise, I’m not motivated to work. So I make a schedule and try to treat it like a job,” she said.
The story was inspired by World War II history.
“I’m a history nerd, and I’m a big believer that history repeats itself,” she said.
She hopes young readers will relate to her underlying message that it is necessary to always be vigilant.
The wizards and witches in the fantasy represent the Jewish people and others who have been subjected to persecution and hate crimes.
To keep the historically rooted story fresh and engaging to her audience of teen readers, it’s is told from the perspective of her lead character, a teenager named Kenadee.
“I did incorporate a lot of the future aspects, also. Those that don’t have magic have lots of technology,” she said.
Prather has been intrigued by the idea of magic since reading the Harry Potter series in Moffat County educator Cheryl Arnett’s class at Sunset Elementary School.
“Ever since, I have been in love with the idea of fantasy and magic. It’s a great escape,” she said.
When locals read the story, they may recognize some of the landmarks.
“It takes place in a modern Steamboat Springs that has been completely ravaged. As the original Steamboat was hiding witches and wizards, they rebuilt and protected the town with a magic charm. If you are from the area, you will definitely pickup on some of those,” she said.
Prather will have a book signing and author talk from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at Off The Beaten Path in Steamboat. She hopes to hold a second signing in Craig.
She’s also working on the second book in the series, due out next year, and will start book three in January.
“Kenadee makes some bad decision, and she has to make up for that, so there’s lots to happen in the next two books,” Prather said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
A learn-by-doing methodology was on display Friday at the Loudy-Simpson Park pond as Moffat County High School science students learned quickly whether or not they had a future in engineering.