Local author Rajdeep Paulus of Locust Valley has just completed and published her third young adult novel, Soaring Through Stars, the final addition to the trilogy. A year after the sequel was released, the teen fiction novel will hit the bookstores on April 23, a particularly special treat for those who thought the story of Talia, Jesse and Lagan had ended with the second book, Seeing Through Stones. In fact, even Paulus herself had initially thought the story was final, until an idea came to her last fall.
“When I wrote the first book, I knew there would be a sequel,” said Paulus. “And when the sequel ended, I was very satisfied. But then I was walking through Bryant Park last October and had this idea for a third book.”
She immediately began writing a few scenes and character sketches and sent a first draft to her editor, who she said was also initially against the idea of the third book. After some feedback and a glimmer of encouragement, she said she then reworked the scenes and got down to business perfecting the story, with the completion of the final draft this February.
The first book of the series, Swimming Through Clouds, introduces readers to Talia and Jesse Vanderbilt, teenage siblings who endure the strict parenting of their single father. Their story unfolds as a love story begins for Talia, and greater adventures follow in the second book, which deals with such powerful issues as child abuse and human trafficking. Though intended for a young adult audience, the characters and storyline are so engaging that even older audiences will be enthralled.
Paulus has won awards and received a lot of praise for Swimming Through Clouds, including the B.R.A.G. Medallion for Young Adult Fiction, a finalist for the Women of Faith writing contest and an honorable mention in the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America contest. In February, she was the featured author on Amazon’s home page, which has really helped her exposure. The reviews for the newest novel are also positive, as the story has some unexpected twists.
“I wasn’t going to write a predictable third book,” she said. “I’m really excited about this book and I’m really glad it came after a little break…and maybe that’s why it did come—it wasn’t forced.”
Another aspect of the book Paulus is excited about is the cover, which was designed by her niece.
Paulus grew up in Michigan and Ontario, Canada and studied English Literature at Northwestern in Chicago, where she met her husband. The couple moved to Glen Cove about 15 years ago, when her husband began practicing medicine at Glen Cove Hospital, and settled in Locust Valley.
A busy mother of four girls, she has also been helping her husband organize the fundraiser Cycling For Change, which seeks to raise money and awareness in the fight against human trafficking. Though Paulus has a couple of writing workshops lined up for this summer, she said her only goal for this year was to write a book.
The launch party will be on Thursday, April 23 at the Book Revue in Huntington at 7 p.m. Copies of Soaring Through Stars, published by Birch House Press, will be available for purchase that evening, as well as at local stores Forest Books and Justin’s Toys and online through www.rajdeeppaulus.com and www.amazon.com.
On the prospect of a fourth book for the series, she said, “I’m going to say no, but, you never know.”