As of Jan. 2020, Albion 2014 aluma Rebecca McLaughlin will have her first book published. McLaughlin will be visiting the college on Jan. 29 as apart of the English Department’s reading series to read a selection of her novel, “The Nameless Queen.”
About the Author
Since the second grade, McLaughlin knew that she wanted to be an author.
“I didn’t even know all the words at that point, but I knew I liked them,” said McLaughlin.
McLaughlin’ interest in the world of fiction writing was enhanced by her time at Albion. She enjoyed her fiction workshops with English professor Danit Brown and still uses the tools for her revising and editing process. McLaughlin majored in English creative writing and chemistry as an undergraduate, using her love of fiction in her work for the Albion Review.
“If you are going to go to college and get a degree then you might as well get two,” said McLaughlin. “I added Chemistry because you get to set things on fire sometimes. That is always a plus.”
While she wrote her first book in high school, she also ended up drafting two more while in college. However these had nothing to do with her current work, as she often took part in National Novel Writing Month and Pitch Wars, which she recommends to current undergraduates who might want to be published one day.
“I have always known I wanted to write books, and I think, for me, it started with writing a lot of short stories to find an idea that had enough to do more,” said McLaughlin. “I graduated from college and within two weeks, I got my first job, my first car, and my first apartment.”
As a recent graduate, she began her career working 50-hour weeks while starting to write a new book. This new book was her first book she started out of college, which turned out to be more than just a hobby. Within three months after graduating, “Nameless Queen” was drafted, and McLaughlin caught an agent’s attention by the next year.
McLaughlin explained how many people have a very narrow view of what an author is or does.
“For example, people will refer to J.K. Rowling,” said McLaughlin. “I am like, ‘No, no author is like J.K. Rowling.’”
As an author McLaughlin isn’t writing for the fame or fortune, but because it’s a passion and hobby. “You know how there is like a hundred books in your library? I am one of those, or I will be.”
Although McLaughlin has her day job at Consumers Energy in Jackson, Mich. she doesn’t intend on making the best sellers list and quitting her job.
“I really like my day job. Without it, I would go stir crazy,” said McLaughlin.
She described how her job may not put her chemistry major to use, but that having a background in a science as well as an English field has been very helpful.
About the Book
The book takes place in a pre-industrial city. Within this city is a class of people referred to as “The Nameless,” those who literally don’t have names, and among them is a teenage girl called Coin.
Raised as a thief in the streets, Coin inherits what was never thought as possible for a peasant: The throne. With a magical tattoo now adorning her arm, Coin’s rags to riches fantasy will be quite a journey if she is going to keep the crown.
“Funny story actually,” said McLaughlin. “I had started writing the first draft of Nameless Queen and my nephew, who was 11 at the time, wanted to read it but I had a bunch of swear words in it. So, I went through and replaced all those words with just made up words off the top of my head.”
These words are still in the final draft of the book, as McLaughlin described as her own made up language for her fantasy world. When it came to picking out character names, the process was a bit more detailed. After all, the book does have “The Nameless” class, so it’s all about names.
“I picked Coin because I liked the sound of it, and most of the names for the nameless are nouns,” said McLaughlin.
While the main character’s name took McLaughlin a while to decide, the rest of the characters were given odd English names to match their personalities and the story line. While names hold an important role in this story, only one was taken from McLaughlin’s real life.
The character of Esther was named after McLaughlin’s grandmother, who had the chance to read the book already.
“It was so funny, because my grandma read the book and I asked her what she thought about the character Esther,” said McLaughlin, “And she was like ‘She’s a bitch, but she got better. So, I like her now.’”
With strong spirited and humorous characters, “Nameless Queen” will be an enjoyable read for fans of Victoria Aveyard’s “Red Queen” or Sarah Maas’s “Throne of Glass.”
“Nameless Queen” will be available in stores and online on Jan. 7, 2020.