Liam Siemann may be just 12 years old, but thanks to a contest he entered a year ago, he's now a published author.
The Grade 7 Alexander Public School student won first place in the 12-and-under age category in the Wordstock 2015 Youth Writing Contest. The stories had to be creepy and set in and around Capreol.
Siemann's story, “Mommy's Here,” is about a nine-year-old boy whose mom goes to Toronto by train to get him a birthday present. His mom most unfortunately dies in a train crash, but that doesn't stop her ghost from visiting him.
One of the contest's judges was Matthew Del Papa, known for his short story collections about the Capreol area, including “Creepy Capreol” and “The Legend of Capreol Red And Other Stories from a Railroad Town.”
His small publishing company, Madcap Publishing, recently put out “Creepy Capreol Jr.,” a short story collection featuring stories written by youngsters who entered the contest.
It also contains creepy stories written for kids by local authors, including former poet laureate Tom Leduc, Liisa Kovala and Renny deGroot.
Siemann, who creates his own comic books and enjoys writing stories in English and French class, said it's “pretty cool” his story has been published.
Del Papa said he was amazed as he read the kids' stories last year.
“As I write in the introduction, their imaginations are just so vivid and wild,” he said. “You think the kids' stories are going to be tame and repetitive. They're all over the map, and some of the stuff, it's nightmare-inducing, really.”
The youngest author whose contest entry is published in the book was six years old when she wrote it — her story was submitted in crayon — and the oldest an 18-year-old high school senior.
“Creepy Capreol Jr.” also features a story by Siemann's classmate at Alexander Public School, 12-year-old Kael Perras. His story earned third place in the 12-and-under category in last year's contest.
“Deadlands” is about a Capreol kid and his dog who survive the zombie apocalypse by commandeering a train and travelling to a military base in Washington, D.C.
“When I entered, I didn't really think it would get published,” Perras said. “It was kind of exciting to be able to go see the book, and say 'That's my story. I wrote that,'” he said.
“A lot of people should try writing stories. It's quite fun. You get to imagine your own world and you own characters.”
The book is not yet in stores, although Del Papa said he's going to see if he can get it into Sudbury's Chapters and Coles locations.
If you'd like to purchase a copy of “Creepy Capreol Jr.,” you can pick one up for the special festival price of $15 at Graphic-Con June 11. It'll also be available at Capreol Days this summer.