NEWARK -- Ever since she was 12 years old, Latasha McLaughlin, now 24, knew she wanted to be a writer.
It all started when her sixth-grade teacher gave her a one-page assignment to do. McLaughlin came back with an elaborate 48-page story about a knight in medieval times.
"I think I was born a writer," McLaughlin said. "My sister used to write, and I got it from her."
Now, that cycle is complete. McLaughlin's first book, "The Secret Life She Led" recently was released by PublishAmerica. The company, which helps first-time authors, has marketed the book in Europe.
"I saw my book in French," McLaughlin said. "It was pretty cool."
Getting that first book published was not without challenges. McLaughlin, who became pregnant while attending Newark High School, ended up with her GED from Woodside. Although she was good in English, McLaughlin admits she was a horrible typist.
Her mother, Wanda Brent, bought her a computer so she could practice. McLaughlin, a stay-at-home mom, is pursuing a degree with an online program to become a paralegal.
"I was going to take nursing, but my mom said that wasn't for me," McLaughlin said. "She has always been a big supporter of mine."
McLaughlin married right out of high school and enlisted with the National Guard in 2004. She served two years until she became pregnant with her youngest child. The hardest thing about the military was she was so busy she didn't have time to write. Now she is thinking about joining the Navy Reserve.
"I love the discipline they gave me," McLaughlin said. "I like to write because you can make up anybody you want and make them come alive. It's fun to start from scratch and see how it evolves."
McLaughlin is working on her second book, a collection of three short stories. She hopes to have them done by February 2008.
While all her stories are different, they have something in common. They all feature a strong woman, good or bad, but a woman who has strength of character.
"Women can do anything a man can do," she said.
The inspiration for her books comes from her husband, Steven McLaughlin. The couple has been married six years, and they have three children, Maurisha, 7, Kainen, 5, and Elijah, 18 months.
The couple recently joined First Presbyterian Church, and now McLaughlin is thinking of making her future books more acceptable to more people by changing the content and language. She even wants to write a children's book.
"I don't care if I make money," McLaughlin said. "I just want to write. I am just waiting for the big one (novel) to pop in my brain."
L.B. Whyde can be reached at (740) 328-8513 or lwhyde.newarkadvocate.com.
This article does not have any comments associated with it
Originally published October 15, 2007
Print this article E-mail this to a friend Subscribe Now