Most adults are unable to say they've had a book published and even fewer teenagers can say that. However, 14-year-old Amber Lacombe recently had her first book published and is in the process of completing a second one.
Amber, an eighth grader at loves to write and began writing her first book, Family of Heroes (Prophecy of the Black Cat) when she was in third grade and began the publishing process during her sixth grade year.
Aside from being an author, Amber enjoys writing short stories and poetry, playing bass guitar, viola, flute and bass clarinet and spends time with her friends and twin sister, Lisa, who is also an avid writer. What makes Amber's accomplishments even more impressive is that she has done them all while suffering from Celiac disease for the past several years.
"She has missed over 60 days of school because of migraine headaches and a lot of other issues," said Amber's mom, Beth Lacombe. "But she has been able to overcome all that, keep her grades up and make her book dream come true. It's pretty amazing."
Beth agreed to help Amber publish the book after a friend told them about KidPub Press, a publishing company for young people that also has a website for writers to share their materials, communicate with one another and enter contests. After editing Prophecy of the Black Cat, Amber signed a contract with KidPub in late 2009.
"Amber initiated the process and that is what she wanted. I didn't want to be the mom that didn't support her dream," said Beth. "She worked so hard on the book did all the work herself. The way she manages to hold the story together and keep consistent with things that were mentioned previously, that's talent."
After months of waiting, the first copy was sent to the Lacombe's home, professionally bound with Amber's cover art, biography and photo on the jacket.
"I actually screamed when I first got the book because I was so happy," she said. "It took a really long time but it was worth it."
"I love my mom so much for helping me get the book published because it did cost money and it was such a long long process," Amber continued. "It was a big favor that I asked of her, but I'm really happy that she helped me."
When it comes to balancing her writing with school, hobbies, and fighting her illness, Amber always puts school first.
"I don't write all the time because I've had a lot of school work, but I try to get it done first because I want to keep my grades up," she said.
Amber is also part of Hasbro Children's Hospital Adolescent Leadership Council, a group for teens with chronic illnesses that allows them to meet and spend time with one another while doing fun activities, like studio art days.
"It's a really good program," said Amber. "It helps teenagers meet other people that know what you're going through."
She is currently in the process of publishing her second book, Ancient Cats, Ancient Danger, which is a sequel to Prophecy of the Black Cat.
"My sister is designing the cover art and it's going to be great," said Amber. "She's really good at photo editing and that kind of stuff."
When asked about why she decided to write a book, she describes it being a natural process.
"I just always wanted to write, there's no particular reason," Amber said. "I have a lot of fun with it and it's something I want to do all my life. I have so many ideas in my head that it will take years and years to write them all down."
Amber admits that her illness has made things difficult at times, but she continues to push forward and do everything that she wants to - something that she urges other teens her age to do, especially aspiring writers.
"Never give up. That's important," she said. "Sometimes with writing, you feel that you want to give up if you get writer's block or mess something up and have to rewrite it. It's good just to keep trying and trying."
Click here to learn more about Amber and her writing. To read excerpts or to purchase a copy of Prophecy of the Black Cat, visit her KidPub page or Amazon.com.