Christine Kannapel, a junior in English, has written seven complete books and nearly 60 poems. Her books range from 40,000 to 60,000 words, not including hundreds of pages of deleted scenes. Her novel, “The Kings’ Promise,” is available on Amazon.com as well as select bookstores including Barnes & Nobles. Kannapel did not start writing poetry until 2015, but she has been incorporating it into her books for many years.
“I have sections of stories that are just poems,” Kannapel said.
Kannapel began writing at a young age. In junior high, she “decided [she] had to write a book every summer.” So, every summer, she set her mind to an idea and explored it in a story. The summer between her junior and senior years, she wrote a story about which she became truly passionate. She workshopped the novel and eventually decided to self-publish it. After entering Createspace, an event on Amazon.com, two free copies of “The Kings’ Promise” were printed.
Her goal was not to get fame or any sort of renown. “I just really wanted people to read it,” she said.
Her grandmother and parents were always supportive and encouraging. As early as elementary school, Kannapel knew writing was what she intended to do.
“I wasn’t allowed to play video games or anything like that. I was very subjected to self-entertainment. My imaginary games I would play, you can see them in my books,” Kannapel said.
Growing up, Kannapel read a wide variety of classic fantasy and fiction.
“I loved L. M. Montgomery, J.K. Rowling and Catherine Fisher.” Kannapel said.
As she grew up, her preferences developed into more gothic literature and contemplative poetry. Writers like Charlotte Brontë, Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe and F. Scott Fitzgerald influence her writing. Her current literary heroes are James Joyce and Seamus Heaney. Sarah Johnson, author of “Bone Map” and a graduate student here at the U, has influenced her writing as well.
Paisley Rekdal, a professor in the English department at the U, inspired Kannapel to study abroad in London for a writing-based project.
“It was a life-changing experience,” Kannapel said.
In London, she experienced some of her greatest growths in writing style and literary maturity. Over time, she learned more about the world of publishing and being a professional writer. She discovered new aspects of herself and her writing. Poetry became such a significant part of her work that she anticipates earning an MFA in the subject.
She realized that writing really “is not so much about luck as it is about hard work and a willingness to reevaluate your whole writing style.”
After so much alteration of her style and development of her skills and talents, Kannapel does not plan on publishing her sequel to “The Kings’ Promise,” nor does she desire to self-publish again. Her time is currently occupied in working on a project mentored by Katharine Coles, an English professor who specializes in poetry. Writing “can just be for fun,” and that is exactly what Kannapel plans for her future.
As she continues to write, Kannapel plans on exploring different genres.
“I want to expand,” she said. “Not just stick to poetry or short stories.”
After she graduates in Spring 2017, Kannapel plans to take a year off to enhance her collection of publications and written works, attending workshops and developing her skills before applying to graduate school. Her goal is to become a professor of creative writing.
Kannapel extends this advice to young people: “Don’t be afraid of someone being like, ‘I’ve already read this’ or ‘Oh, I don’t like it.’ People change, society changes. It’s the ones that go beyond what people want or what people expect that become great. You may want to write things that leave people speechless, but that’s not going to happen every time. Just write. Don’t care about what people say.”
Although Kannapel always knew she would be publishing and writing, she “never thought [she] would be a poet.” She never anticipated her writing would undergo so much change as her skills and techniques developed. Her ultimate goal to become a professor means she can continue to strengthen her writing indefinitely.
“There’s one thing I’m confident about,” she said. “This is what I want to do.”