Saturday, February 24, 2018

Camosun alumnus Kate Rooper writes young-adult novel

October 16, 2015 by Aidan Ehrenberg-Smith, contributing writer

Camosun alumnus Kate Rooper has done many things so far in her life. She’s a blogger, a former fashion model, and a self-proclaimed “crappy part-time employee,” and right now she’s focused on her new young adult novel, Jane Unwrapped, which she co-wrote with her sister Leah.

But her road to success began in a very different industry.

“I modelled for six years,” says Rooper. “My sister entered a modelling contest when she was about 16 years old and it sort of spiralled into this big thing. We went to Toronto to go see an agent. We ended up working in Toronto, New York, Milan, and Tokyo. We did that for a few years, until I decided I wanted to go to school. Writing was always our number-one passion; modelling was just this random thing that sort of happened.”

Jane Unwrapped, which comes out on October 12, follows the adventures of Jane, a teenager who, after a science experiment goes wrong, finds herself heartless in the Egyptian underworld, developing a crush on King Tut.

Kate Rooper (left) and her sister Leah co-wrote the new novel Jane Unwrapped (photo provided).

Kate Rooper (left) and her sister Leah co-wrote the new novel Jane Unwrapped (photo provided).

“We’ve been writing together since we were little kids,” says Rooper. “We’ve written several other [unpublished] novels together. Leah went to Seattle and saw this exhibit on King Tut and came back, telling me, ‘Oh, I have this really cool story idea!’ We both got super excited about it, started writing together, and that’s how it spiralled into the actual novel.”

Although Rooper has high hopes for the book, getting to the point of publication certainly came with its fair share of struggles. She says that being persistent is key to being a writer.

“Leah and I received over 100 rejections from publishing agencies before we were able to get our first novel published,” she says. “You have to have a tough skin. A primary reason for a number of those rejections is that our manuscript wasn’t quite polished enough.”

For Rooper, there was no doubt that her postsecondary experience at Camosun was helpful in her pursuit of writing as a career.

“I worked on a psychology degree, so I had a ton of electives to go along with that,” she says. “I had a writing class, along with several others, taught by Laurie Elmquist. Her feedback was just so awesome. The way Laurie teaches, she doesn’t make it feel as though she’s judging; instead, she’s trying to encourage those really creative parts of you. I still have some of her critiques, which I often reference when I’m writing.”

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