Alpharetta teen named author of the year

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ALPHARETTA – We all have novels and books we would love to have the time to write and publish. Not many of us have succeeded in this, but for one Alpharettan, not only has she written and published her first book, she won the Georgia Author of the Year Award for it. What’s more, she’s 13-years-old.

The book, titled “Ronnie and BB,” is a poetic children’s book about a bee who helps his mole friend escape a cat, a situation author Nicole Izmaylov said was based on a real occurrence that happend in her back yard.

“I was watching a cats as it was stalking a mouse or a rodent and it disturbed a bee that was on a nearby flower and while the bees were stinging the cat, the mouse managed to get away,” said Nicole.

The book is an illustrated Acrostic poem, that is, a poem whose first letter in every line spells out a message. In “Ronnie and BB,” the message is “The importance of love and friendship.”

“It was originally not supposed to be a book,” said the Webb Bridge Middle-schooler. “It was just something I wrote for fun.” She said her older sister had seen the small book and decided it was good enough to send to a publisher.

The original story took half an hour to write, then was turned from prose into poem form, with two months of revisions with the publisher. Then another month waiting for the illustrations to be finished, and voila! An award-winning book is made.

The Georgia Author of the Year Award (GAYA) is presented by the Georgia Writers Association and is the oldest literary award in the Southeast.

Nicole was nervous about her competition for the award.

“I was looking through them and I was amazed. There was just no way my book would win,” she said.

And when her name was announced?

“I couldn’t believe it... I was just frozen in shock. I couldn’t believe that a 13-year-old could win a statewide award.”

She said it proves that age should never be a thought when writing (and publishing) good books.

“No matter what anybody tells you, just because you’re young, it doesn’t mean you’re incompetent or you’re not old enough to do it,” said Nicole. “If you have the patience to go through the process, do it.

“It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, what matters is what’s inside.”