Writing career ahead for literary student

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved stories so much, she decided to write one of her own.

That girl, junior Bridget Tolle, says she has always loved to read.

“I guess I just really like a good story,” Bridget said. “I can go away from the world and focus on one thing; it’s a fun adventure you get to take.”

Her mother, Hadley Tolle, remembers a young Bridget who caught the spark for writing.

“When she was in first grade she started writing stories with her friend,” Hadley said.

These first amateur stories usually involved more pictures than actual content, but they created the domino effect that propelled her interest in writing.

As Bridget grew older, her literary passion heightened. Her family made the move from Durant to Duncan the summer before Bridget’s eighth grade year.

“I didn’t want to move at first,” Bridget said.

However, after she moved, many opportunities opened up for her. Bridget joined the Teen Writers Group offered at the Duncan Public Library.

“I would rush over from percussion practice to the library, then go home and eat dinner,” Bridget said. “I didn’t miss a single meeting unless I was out of town.”

The Teen Writer’s Group is no longer available, but it helped the move that Bridget had previously dreaded and has become a marker on her path to becoming a published author.

“She felt that it was providential,” father Greg Tolle said.

Bridget realized that moving to Duncan, where she could hone her talent in writing, was a way of showing her her calling.

“I know God wants me to be an author,” Bridget said.

Greg is a pastor at the First United Methodist Church and is a published author himself. He wrote preaching resources, “Lectionary Tales for the Pulpit,” which was a part of a larger collection, and a sermon series “Experiencing Easter.” When Bridget decided she wanted to pursue getting one of her books published, he was able to lend a helping hand from his own experience.

“Been there, done that,” Greg jokingly said.

Bridget had already written two 50,000 word stories.

“I really wanted to go up to 60,000 words,” she said. “I started writing the day school let out.”

The summer of 2014 was a busy one for Bridget. She scheduled out the days she would be home and figured out how many words she would need to type each day, which ended up being a little more than 1,000.

“It felt really awesome to finish since it was longer than others I’d written before,” Bridget said.

The finished product is known to Bridget as “Elemental Princesses,” but that is just a working title.

“It’s about four princesses from different elemental Kingdoms — Fire, Water, Earth and Air — who get kidnapped,” Bridget said. “They have to work together to escape.”

When Bridget felt confident that her book was something to be proud of, the family started looking into publishing.

Author Jesse Haynes is a senior in high school and has his book “Creepers” published by Tate Publishing. Hadley knows Haynes from Encyclomedia. Bridget felt encouraged due to the fact that a teenager had been published under the company.

“I’m 17,” Bridget said. “I think that plays a role in the marketing aspect because more people are surprised when a younger person has a book.”

From finding out about Haynes’ book, the family went on to Tate Publishing’s website to see what steps they should take in contacting them. One thing they learned was that Tate Publishing doesn’t accept sexually explicit material or language.

“[Bridget] appreciates a good story,” Greg said, “And she wants it done in a way that is not necessarily offensive.”

On April 3, the family went to Tate Publishing to talk with them about a contract.

“We did some research before going,” Hadley said. “We wanted to know the percentage of books they chose.”

Acquisitions Editor Shannon Lloyd said that her personal acceptance was 5-8 percent.

“I was surprised they accepted me,” Bridget said. “Ninety out of 100 don’t get picked.”

Greg wanted to know why her book had been selected.

“I needed assurance that they were seeing her talent,” he said.

Lloyd enjoyed the fact that Bridget’s characters were consistent and stayed firm in their voice from cover to cover.

Production for the book has not yet been started, but it will probably take around 6-8 months.

“The book will be out next fall,” Bridget said. “Once it’s in print it’s going to be like ‘Ahhhh, it’s alive and it’s real.’”