Bethany Holley graduated from Salem High in 2006 with a goal.
“I pretty much had it set in my mind that I wanted to write a book. And basically I took the mornings, I spent pretty much the whole summer,” she said.
She wrote her first book “Second Half,” a story about “a young girl growing up in the present day, learning to look deep within herself for the person she wants to be,” according to Holley’s summary at www.lulu.com
Her second book, “They all call it Halifax, but I call it home,” she wrote two summers later while attending James Madison University. She recently received her Masters degree in Teaching.
This most recent school year, she been substitute-teaching in Salem, Roanoke County, and Montgomery County schools, in the meantime has put out a third book written at the fifth-grade reading level “Teedie and the Canyon of the Legend People.” It’s based off of a short story she wrote in the car on her summer vacation after sixth-grade to Bryce Canyon in Utah.
She’s been invited to a few schools to read some of her work, including Glen Cove, Glenvar, and West Salem elementaries. Sometimes the kids ask her why she wanted to be a writer.
“I tell them: I remember the exact assignment that I had in first grade where we were reading this silly story about a boy imagining himself being different animals and plants, and then we came up with our own. I think I did one I was imagining I was a sunflower. I remember writing it. And I wrote it, and I thought wow, this is so much fun.”
Her mom, Debbie Holley, teaches preschool at First United Methodist’s Wesleyan Preschool and used to teach first grade in Woodstock, Virginia. That’s one of Bethany’s reasons for becoming a teacher.
“I love writing and I love working with kids, so I thought that I could combine them – use the two together,” she said. Her favorite genre to write now is young adult historical fiction.
So where does she see her writing and teaching careers in the next five years?
“I never viewed myself as being a famous author, one that is on the bestseller list or anything, but having it out there so that people know the names of my books, and so that other teachers will use the books in their classrooms.”
Holley has a Facebook page “Bethany Holley’s Children’s Books”