Alternate content for script Text Only VersionSkip to Main Content

Student Spotlight: Elise Stankus

Brianna Duffin - October 25, 2021

Elise Stankus photoFirst-year student and author Elise Stankus, of Ewing, New Jersey, shares what inspires her writing and what projects she has in the works. Her first book, If We Fall In The Forest, was published in August 2021.

Q: What inspired you to write the book?

A: I started the book last November as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo - a challenge where you attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.) Since I didn't have a lot of planning time (only 30 days to write a novel!), most of my inspiration came from my life, my favorite stories, and my interests - what was on my mind on a day-to-day basis.

Q: Tell us about the book! What's the premise? Where can we get it?

A: My book is a realistic fiction novel aimed at young adults. It centers on two twin sisters, Rosemary and Audrey, as they begin high school. Previously homeschooled, the girls are attending different schools, which poses different challenges for each of them. Audrey, who relies on sign language to communicate, faces a series of emotional battles while Rosemary gets caught up in a mystery of hidden notes and estranged family members at her private school. The girls eventually figure out how to navigate the world on their own but in the process, they end up realizing that we are all more connected than we realize. As I said, this was inspired by a lot of my personal interests, so you'll find themes of music, poetry, and science, just to name a few! At the present, the only way to buy my book is through the Blurb bookstore at this link, but it will soon be available on Amazon.

Q: How would you describe your writing process?

A: My writing process varies greatly depending on what I'm writing. What I found to work best for my novel was a series of outlines. I began with a rough list of concepts I wanted to cover and narrowed this down until I had a scene-by-scene outline. Of course, I ended up changing quite a bit of this plan, but it was a great starting point.

Q: What are you hoping to learn at Rosemont?

A: At Rosemont, I am hoping to learn more about the craft of writing as well as the business side of being a writer. I am excited to meet other young writers and find inspiration in new places.

Q: Are you currently working on any new writing projectS? 

A: I am currently in the process of publishing a poetry collection, and planning for this year's November novel!

Q: What campus organizations/clubs/athletics are you involved in or hope to join?

A: I am currently involved in Campus Ministry, playing guitar at Mass and participating in Rosegrow. I am also in the Petaltones, and I hope to be involved in Thorn (Rosemont's art and literary magazine) once it starts up this year.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rosemont so far?

A: My favorite thing about Rosemont so far is the small classes, and the ability to personalize my schedule (though I am tempted to say that the gorgeous campus is my favorite part as well)!