Tompkins Student Releases Debut Novel


Rachel Bregnard

Junior Rachel Muralitharan quietly sat at the head of an ebony table and stared at the laptop before her. The screen displayed a loading icon and, in the background, a website with a familiar logo constructed primarily by bright shades of orange and blue. Over the last year, the computer, despite its age and slow progressing power, had become her best friend. She prayed that now, during such a defining moment of her future, the mainframe would not crash.

  After taking a moment to steady her shaking knee, Muralitharan tore her eyes away from the laptop and returned to her work. Scraps of paper surrounded her, some sheets illustrating basic plot structures while others discuss the most microscopic details. A bundle of worn pencils, tied together by the sheer force of a rubber band, was placed beside her. She sighed in frustration and crushed a nearby worksheet into a ball, feeling the weight of the paper crumble under her fingers. It was not long before Muralitharan finally recognized that any attempt to regain her composure was fruitless. The anticipation was overwhelming and Muralitharan decided the best way to ease her worries would be to leave the room. 

 She was halfway across the room when the loading icon finished and presented her with the finished product. Muralitharan squealed in delight, her lips stretched into a radiant smile. After months of research and hours of hard work, her manuscript was finally uploaded online for the world to see. 

 “I have always wanted to write a book. I worked on my rough draft whenever I had free time. I did everything from writing, to editing, to formatting, to the cover myself. I didn’t use any companies or pay anyone,” said Muralitharan.

  During a family vacation to Washington, Muralitharan was greatly inspired by the architecture and then generated the idea of an anti-government organization destroying such a beautiful city. She further researched jobs within the area and decided a majority of her characters, should somehow be involved with the White House. Once Muralitharan finished finalizing her characters she began the creative processing, utilizing photos and the internet for inspiration, when she experienced writer’s block. The young author also received an abundance of support from her mother and best friend who regularly offered her freadback. After four long months of dedication, Muralitharan finished first draft and used the rest of the year to edit her work. 

  “I did experience self doubt over whether I had a good enough writing style because I kept feeling like I was too inexperienced to write a book,” said Muralitharan. 

 The novel’s main character, Katherine, is a social butterfly who desperately attempts to continue life as an everyday high school student, despite her father’s influential career within the FBI. However, Katherine’s stability is suddenly shattered after she encounters Red X, a terrorist group determined to reduce the capital to dust. Now, as a final attempt to secure her safety, Katherine returns to Washington with her father where she will be reunited with childhood friends, uncover the shocking details of her mother’s demise, and threaten to expose the government’s secrets, even if it means risking the reveal of her own secrets. 

 “My advice would be to just start writing. You do not need a publisher. You do not need a fancy story board and all that, just try and let the story carry out itself,” said Muralitharan.