Published: 21:21, 03 August 2020
| Updated: 21:24, 03 August 2020
Jessica Stevens, a pupil at New Line Learning Academy in Maidstone, had some lovely presents on her 15th birthday - but the best one she gave to herself.
Jessica celebrated both her 15th year and the publication of her first novel on the same day.
The youngster spent a year writing Everything Happens For A Reason and was rewarded when it was picked up and published by Upbury Press, a company that specialises in giving breaks to new and especially younger authors.
Jessica was encouraged by Richard Dodd, then a teaching assistant at New Line Learning in Boughton Lane, who ran an after-school creative writing club at the school.
Mr Dodd said: "To be honest Jessica needed very little help. She just worked away at it every day continuously and with great determination. She clearly has a bright future ahead of her."
Jessica has been writing for many years, and said she was carrying around the idea for her novel for four months before getting started.
The story is a love affair between two teenagers who seem destined to be together but who are stalked by tragedy.
Jessica, from Shepway in Maidstone, said the story was entirely imaginary and not inspired by real life.
She said seeing her own work in print was "Very cool."
She said: "My friends couldn't believe it at first!"
Her proud mother Joanne Stevens said: "I don't know where she gets her talent from - there are no other writers in the family, but she's a very chilled-out child and very determined."
Despite her literary success, Jessica does not know if she wants to be a writer. She's also keen on business studies and she said: "I really like art."
Mr Dodd, who is moving on to teach at Mid Kent College next term, knows the joy of seeing your own work in print. He had his own children's book, Fluffy Hugs, published in 2016.
Everything Happens for a Reason is available from Amazon, priced £5.99 with a Kindle edition at £3.99.
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