By Emily Younker
With her emotional eyes and superhuman gift of strength, Kiara Fable is a fictional character that has been in the works for the past six years.
Her development and maturation have consumed about one-third of the life of her creator, 18-year-old MaKenzie McCroskey Jones.
“She kind of formed, and the other characters formed around her, and the world just started shaping up,” the young author said. “It all just kind of fell into place.”
Jones, a 2013 graduate of Joplin High School, recently published her first novel, “Forsaken.” The 445-page book, the first in a planned series titled “Fall of Menevilen,” follows its heroine, Kiara, as she tries to find her place in a centuries-old feud between the magical Nonae and Evalseman peoples.
Acting on advice she said she received from an editor of a Chicago-based independent publishing company, Jones released the novel through a self-publishing arm of Amazon.com.
She has also already begun working on the next books in the Menevilen series, planning the outlines and plot points.
“I’ve always been obsessed with books and movies and TV shows, and it was just appealing to me that I could write my own world and characters,” she said.
Jones’ book underwent at least five rewrites during the past six years. She would leave the manuscript at times, but she always returned to it because she felt connected to Kiara and the other characters she had created, she said.
“The more I learned about writing, the more my writing style matured,” she said. “The characters have matured, too. She (Kiara) changed as I did.”
One of the things that Jones said has helped her writing ability the most was signing up for journalism classes during high school. She eventually was a yearbook staff member for three years, serving as the editor for one year.
“I’m definitely a creative writer, but journalism kind of taught me to vary my style,” she said. “Since it’s so direct, it kind of helped me cut down that a little bit where I can have some scenes be descriptive and some scenes where I get to the point.”
Jones plans to attend Missouri Southern State University this year and transfer next year to the University of Missouri, majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing. Her long-term goal, she said, is to be an author.
“Even if I never get traditionally published, I think as long as I have a good following, that would make me happy — to see hundreds of people care about my books and characters like I did,” she said.
Jones, who said she has always enjoyed writing, as a fifth-grader began working on her first novel. That 300-page manuscript will ultimately be adapted and molded into her Menevilen series, she said.