12:24 am, November 10th, 2016
My name is Aliena Perez and I'm a normal teenager; I attend North Lakes High School in Alberta, hang out daily with friends and worship technology.
Except that at seventeen years old, I'm already a author with two bestsellers on the shelves and two movie adaptations.
My first novel, The Galaxy Team,
is a science fiction book about two teenagers who live normal lives until a group of extraterrestrial creatures attack their town and kill several of their close friends.
The pair, Daniel Asher and Skylar Anson, then move on to join Nixis, a secret organization that protects the earth from the dangerous extraterrestrial beings in space.
In The Galaxy Team, Nixis is trying to launch an attack on EHX, a group of aliens pretending to be humans, or as Nixis calls them, ‘fake citizens’,
The first book of the GT trilogy was published in 2012, in the summer between eighth and ninth grade. The book was an immediate success; surprising my publisher, Lee Johnson publishing and me.
TGT was selling out on bookshelves everywhere and earning tens of thousands of dollars for me.
My second novel, The Star Glazer, was published in 2014, around the time the movie version of TGT came out in theatres,
sold even better than the first; selling half a million copies in the first twenty four hours of its release.
After a writer becomes an author and makes it big, they receive all sorts of attention from their new found fame. Book signings, visits to schools, writing awards, interviews, you name it.
I got nada of that because Aliena Perez is not listed as the author of TGT, Helen Lauder is.
While I was trying to publish it, my querying was put on hold for a couple weeks because my parents wouldn't allow it, thinking that it would interfere with school.
Which makes no sense because I was able to mange writing a 80,000 word novel in six months, school, homework and family time with time to spare.
They eventually caved in but made me promise two things: One, I'd keep my grades at a B or higher. Two, my book would be published under a pen name. We argued over the last one for a while.
“But that's the whole point of publishing a book,” I would say, “to get rich and famous!”
I eventually gave in, as long as they promised to follow one of my conditions: all the money that I made off the book would belong to me and be only mine to spend.
The lunch bell rings as soon as I put down my pen. After packing up all my possessions, I walk through the crowded halls of North Lake Secondary School to get to the cafeteria.
After finding an empty table, I pull out my laptop, (one of the few items I spent my precious TGT earnings on), and lunch and settle into work.
My friends, Star, Aaron, Cass and Daniel, don't arrive for at least another fifteen minutes,
so I probably can finish the last few pages of chapter seven of the third and final book of the The Galaxy Team.
I'm thinking that it should be called The final Battle, though my editor, Serena, disagrees.
The sun glared on the aircraft coming towards the ground.
Agent Anson fidgeted with the blaster clipped against her hip as she waited to speak with David-no, Agent Asher, about his meeting with the leaders of the Nixis headquarters in Europe.
I paused and went back to change ‘glared’ to ‘shone’ and ‘coming towards the ground’ to ‘descending’’.
After all, I am supposed to be a middle aged woman, not a seventeen year old with a decent vocabulary.
“What are you doing?”
Aaron’s sudden appearance startles me. I jump and slam my laptop shut.
“Nothing! Just homework,” I lie hastily. Aaron raises his eyebrows at me, but says nothing more.
“So, I got my science exam back,” he said, pulling out a slightly flattened sandwich and an apple. “I only got 97% on it, though.”
“Are you joking? 97% is a great mark!”
“Maybe to you.”
Star came up to the lunch table, her long, black braids swinging wildly.
“I think I finally got my term project right!” She exclaimed and hands me a canvas with her paint covered hands.
The art in question was a painting of a night sky with a moon reflecting off a lake.
“I don't know how I got away with this, but I hid a secret message in it,” she says and points to the park bench in the left corner of the painting,
where the words ‘Lafere sucks’ could be discreetly seen.
“He’s the worst teacher in the school,” Star comments, pulling out her lunch. “Him and his stupid guidelines. I mean, if I couldn't be creative in my own art, I wouldn't take that class.
“What?” I look up from my laptop, my fingers still clicking away at the keys.
“You weren't listening to me again,” she says with a sigh.
“Oh, I'm sorry. I was doing…. homework.”
“Right…” Star sarcastically replies.
I close my laptop and put it back in my bag. I'll have to finish chapter seven before my 6:30 Skype call with Serena. I pull out leftovers of last night’s chicken and chorizo tamales and dig in.
Right as I'm finishing my lunch, Cass asks me the question that she's already asked me ten times this lunch block.
“What time is it?”
“Time for you to get a watch.”
“Aliena, I'm being serious here. I can't be late to band practice,” Cassandra says, fidgeting with her instrument case.
Cass is the band kid of the friend group, she plays the clarinet. Then you have Star, the artist and Daniel, the jock, Aaron, the nerd/geek and finally, me, the writer.
How our friend group came to be is an interesting story. Back in grade 9, one of my favourite teachers, Mr Gigg, put us all in a group together for a science project.
While Cassandra and me were instant friends, Star, Daniel and Aaron kind of disliked each other.
After we had gotten a great mark on the project (an A), they spilt their ways and didn't talk to each other for months.
Then, in the middle of the year, Cassandra and Daniel started to become friends because of their shared socials class.
At first, my friend ship with Daniel, Star and Aaron was sort of a my-friend-is-friends-with-you-so-I-guess-I-am-too situation. Over the years, we've become inseparable.
But now that high school is ending, we're starting to break apart, with Aaron going off to some fancy college, Cass going to university in Alberta,
Daniel attending a college that he got a scholarship for and Star becoming a full-time artist.
The bell rang, signalling the end of lunch. We all got up and scrambled to our second to last class of the day.
Just as I had sat at my desk and pulled out the socials homework we had completed the day before, Mr Rutherford made an announcement.
“Listen up class, I have two pieces of exciting news that will affect you in the near future. One, the quiz we are marking today is worth 25% of your upcoming term mark.”
Groans sounded around the classroom.
“Two, we have a new student joining us.”
Everybody sat up in their seat, eyes searching for a glimpse of this new student.
“Ma-i-zuki, you can come in.”
A bright eyed Asian girl hesitantly entered the room. Her vibrant green eyes glanced at the class, glowing against her Carmel skin.
She wore a jean jacket over a black dress over black leggings paired with brown ankle boots.
“That's quite a name you have, did I pronounce it correctly?” Mr Rutherford asked, peering at the attendance list.
“It's Mizuki,” she said, her voice high and clear.
“You can take a seat next to Aliena.”
Damn it, I thought. Now I won't have this empty desk beside me to put my stuff on.
“Hi,” she says and sticks out her hand. I shake her hand. What are we, businessmen making a deal?
After we had settled into quiet work time, I snuck a peek at what Mizuki was doing. She was reading a book. Wait- I know that cover! She's reading The Star Glazer! I shouldn't be so surprised.
When my book got popular and when its sequel was published, I saw dozens of students carrying around copies.
“So, you like The Galaxy Team got series,” I casually whispered.
“Yeah,” Mizuki whispers back. “Helen Lauder is my favourite author. I love all her books.”
“Me too,” I agree and get back to work.
After class, when I'm waiting around for psychology class to start, she approaches me.
“Hey, do you know where the foods class is? I've asked other people, but they just give me confusing instructions.”
“Sure. It's at the end of the left hallway.”
We walked together, down the crowded hallway.
“So,” I say, breaking the awkward silence setting between us. “Did you have a good first day?”
“Yeah, all my teachers seem okay, though Mrs Wright does ramble on.”
“Yes, she does,” I agree.
“Do you to maybe hang out after school?” Mizuki asks me.
“Oh, I can't,” I reply and her face drops. “Not that I wouldn't want to, I just have a lot of homework,” I quickly say.
“Oh, I get it. See you tomorrow, then?” With that, she turns and disappears into the crowd.