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Georgia Southern student publishes first novel
Alex Buzby

Sitting in her childhood home, Alex Buzby sifted through the memories of moments past in her closet. It was just days after one of the biggest moments in one’s life: high school graduation. 

As she prepared for one of the most drastic changes in her life, she came across a short story she had written when she was just 10 years old. Flipping through page after page of the story she became engrossed in her writing, all 30 pages of it. When she put down the notebook, she thought to herself, “This is actually pretty good.” 

That moment became the clicking point that propelled Buzby to pursue her lifelong dream of writing a novel.

At just 21 years old, Buzby has become a published author. She is a senior philosophy student at Georgia Southern University with a minor in writing. She dedicates much of her free time to writing, both as an escape and as a way to process the changes she is going through in her life. She really focused on her writing during the biggest change that anyone in this lifetime has experienced: living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Transitioning into her sophomore year of college, when the whole world turned upside down, Buzby began writing as she was personally experiencing many life changes herself.

Childhood daydreaming

As a born writer, Buzby would read and write all the time as a child. 

“I found myself daydreaming all day about anything and everything,” she said

At 10 years old with an ambitious dream of becoming an author, she decided to challenge herself, making the decision right then and there to write a book. That moment was what led her to writing a 30-page short story for her to one day find and reignite her dream.

From poems to songs and everything in between, that little girl spent countless hours scribbling away in her notebook, writing everything she could think of. 

When it was time for Buzby’s family to go on a vacation, she was so determined to bring her friend with her that she wrote an entire persuasive essay on why she should be allowed to.

“Needless to say, it was so well written that it worked,” said Buzby’s mother, Leticia.

Pen to paper

When Buzby was 19, she began writing a novel. She began writing as an escape from everything going on in her life during the time of the pandemic. Through it, she was able to process situations and write about things that she was actually experiencing at the time. Many of the stories that she was writing were a dramatized telling of her life experiences from a different perspective.

At the time, Buzby was stuck in the middle of two friends who were at odds in a type of “friend triangle” situation and she had to choose between them. When Buzby made her choice, she experienced a lot of backlash and falling out from other friends who did not support her. While it was hard, she chose the relationship that was giving her life and more healthy for her. 

To cope with these huge changes going on in her life and the backlash from the decisions she was making, she began writing about a girl like her who was experiencing relationship and friendship changes, and even a move across the country. The girl is named Madelyn Chromes, and she was destined to become the main character of Buzby’s novel, “The Paths of Our Invisible Strings.”

Buzby took a unique approach to her writing process, beginning with developing the characters and then building the plot around them. She felt that the characters were the statement pieces to the book that drove the plot forward.

Buzby says her biggest inspiration for her novel derived from the book, “The Light We Lost,” by Jill Santopolo.

Reading through each page, she realized more and more how what the author was writing about was exactly what she was going through. As Buzby finished the final line of the last page, she closed the book and began to cry, as it moved her so deeply. 

“The Light We Lost” used a second-person point of view, where the narrator is talking to someone. Buzby loved this approach and decided she would implement it selectively into her own book, as the main character, Madelyn, talks directly to her love interest in her head.

Finishing “The Light We Lost” truly became an awakening point for Buzby. 

Finishing the novel

Sitting in the peace and quiet of Zach S. Henderson Library at Georgia Southern University, Buzby finished typing the last page of her book. The dream that felt so impossible for so long was now sitting at her fingertips, or so she believed. 

After finishing writing that last page, she thought to herself, “Let’s make this a real thing,” as she became set on publishing her novel. She began searching for a publishing house when a friend recommended one to her which would aid her in the process of self-publishing. The process of publishing the book became a roller coaster ride. 

Time after time, Buzby would tell people how she was writing a book and be met with skepticism and questioning. So much so, that her dream started to feel out of reach for her.

Reading through her book over six times before copy editing, she felt as though it was all pointless and never-ending. Buzby had to go through three different endings to her novel before she finally landed on the one that she chose. She explained how her editor literally applauded her for it, and that was when she knew that was the one. She never regretted keeping that ending and felt that it was the best way to wrap up Madelyn’s story.

Throughout the process of publishing, she received so much support from her boyfriend, C.J. Ehle. He showered praise on her book and her writing as a whole. 

“The way Alex writes is so imaginative,” C.J. said. “How she’s able to create such an immersive universe keeps you so entangled with every character’s life, and keeps you engaged throughout the entire book. The personal connections I made with the characters made me feel like I’ve known them my whole life.”

Despite immense support from her family and boyfriend, she found that self-publishing was extremely expensive and decided she did not want to take that route in the future.

After days of countless revising and editing, her book was finally published on May 5. She felt the most surreal feeling she had ever experienced. Buzby was so proud of all that she had accomplished and how far she had come. She never gave up in her dream and felt as though she surpassed the boundaries of what anyone ever would have expected of her.

Looking forward

Since its debut, Buzby’s book has become available for purchase on Amazon, Kindle and Barnes & Noble online. She hosted a book signing in her hometown at a boutique and was blown away by the support that she received from her community.

“A bunch of people from my childhood came. It felt really at home for me,” she said.

While she was able to reconnect with those from her childhood and past, she was also able to meet so many new faces who told her how they had read her book and came specifically for her book signing. Drinking mimosas and signing each book with a detailed message to her fans, Buzby was able to connect on a personal level with so many of her supporters.

Since the publishing of “The Paths of Our Invisible Strings,” Buzby has not slowed her writing down for a moment. She is already working on her next book, which she plans to make into a mystery thriller based in Miami, Florida.

She began this book over the summer and hopes to finish it in February 2023, if she stays on track. She balances her writing with her schoolwork, as well as being involved in multiple campus organizations, such as Alpha Omicron Pi and the executive council of the Panhellenic Association, as well as working as a barista. She says she will simply just do an assignment and then write and continue the cycle. 

“It is all about balance,” she said.

Buzby encourages other writers to not give up on their dreams, as she feels it can happen faster than you think. 

“It’s a bumpy road and it’s going to go up and down, but what road doesn’t?” she said.

Even with the world against her and when everything seemed to be so out of reach, Buzby persevered and accomplished her lifelong dream of becoming a published author at the age of 21.

“Writing is my passion; it is literally what I want to do with my life. It helps me grow, it helps me change as a person, it makes me feel more comfortable with myself,” she said. “I really found myself through that book and through the whole writing process.”