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Brittany Westerberg a published author

Philip High School 2005 graduate Brittany Westerberg is a published author. Her first novel, "Into Fire," is being published by Silver Leaf Books.

"She started it while she was still in high school, and she pretty much finished before she went to college," said Brittany's father, Duke Westerberg. Brittany is currently working on her master's thesis, after graduating from the South Dakota State University with a journalism degree. "She loves to write, and to read, too. Years ago, she would walk down the street reading; I was scared she'd get run over." When Brittany was still in high school, "She told me, 'I have the beginning and the ending to a book, I just don't know what to put in the middle,' " said Duke.

"I wrote this novel in high school during my eighth grade to freshman or sophomore years," said Brittany. "I would work on it for a while, then I'd have to take a break because I'd have something else going on, like track, oral interpretation, or the one-act play, which is why it took me a couple of years to write. I never thought about getting it published.

"After I went to college, Michael (her brother) found it on our old Macintosh as he was cleaning out all of the folders and documents. He read it and then he called me. He started looking on the Internet and through "Writer's Market," a book published every year that lists book publishers, whether they publish new authors and what genres of books they publish. I'd help him put it (the manuscript) together, and we'd send off whatever they needed. We got a few noes before finally getting a yes," she said.

Silver Leaf Books, which specializes in the fantasy fiction genre, is a small publishing company from Holliston, Mass. Westerberg's book was accepted in 2009. "I learned about that a few weeks before I graduated with my bachelor's degree in journalism. That was a great graduation present," said Westerberg. "Into Fire" is available through SilverLeafBooks.com, on Amazon.com and through Barnes and Noble. "Amazon also has it in electronic format for Kindle, which is a cool thing," Westerberg said.

"I've got another novel finished that Michael and I are working on revising. It's amazing how important revision is in this process, if only to make sure that everything makes sense in the story. I've taken a little break from the revisions right now as I write my thesis, be a teaching assistant at SDSU and plan my wedding in June," she said. "As soon as the semester is over and I graduate in May, I'll get those done, and then it will mean sending it in to Silver Leaf Books and, if they don't want to publish it, other publishing companies and starting that whole process over again."

Michael said, "From the time that I contacted Silver Leaf Books and submitted the manuscript to them until now has been roughly two years. Just like almost every publishing company, they take only a couple of new author submissions per year. First, Brittany and I sent a synopsis of the story and the first three chapters. About three months later Silver Leaf Books told us that they had moved Brittany's book to what they called stage two. I then sent them a copy of the full manuscript. Roughy six months later, they wanted to publish Brittany's book. After a month or two of haggling over the contract, both parties agreed. The rest of the two years has been dedicated to revision and production of the book."

The two younger Westerbergs agreed Michael should get a percentage of what Brittany will receive for the book. "This is the first of three books that Brittany is under contract for through Silver Leaf Books, and we are in the process of submitting the second one," said Michael, a criminal justice and sociology undergraduate at the University of Sioux Falls.

Brittany said, "Any upcoming books in the near future will be in the same genre. I'm planning on turning this current book into the first of a trilogy, but those aren't written yet. The one Michael and I are working on currently is unrelated to this first published book.

"Michael has been great with helping me with this. If not for him, obviously, I wouldn't be a published author right now. That's why "Into Fire" is dedicated to him," said Westerberg. "It was still a little unreal for me before. Now that it's really published, though, it finally feels real and I'm very excited for everyone to read it."

The jacket on the paperback book "Into Fire" reads, "The 15-year-old Leora had always planned her entire life around working with her brother and father in their gemsmithing shop. She enjoyed it, she was good at it, and she wanted nothing more than to do it. But fate had other plans for Leora. On a day like any other, Leora's life was turned upside down when two strangers visited her and informed her family that she had the power of a Mage - abilities she had always been raised to fear. As they seek to whisk her away and train her in her abilities, Leora must decide whether to remain in the family business, or explore these amazing abilities, and, a potential link to her mother. Deciding to embrace the adventure, Leora learns that there is a lot more in the world outside her home than she thought. With new allies, challenges, experiences and problems she never knew even existed, Leora must accept the person she was meant to become or lose everything that ever meant anything to her."