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Sincerity shines through ‘Sincerely’

Young author from Burnt Hills pens first book

Fifteen-year-old Erin Billings of Burnt Hills hopes to provide a window into the teen world and the issue of bullying through her new book, “Sincerely,” which was released on July 17.

Fifteen-year-old Erin Billings of Burnt Hills hopes to provide a window into the teen world and the issue of bullying through her new book, “Sincerely,” which was released on July 17.

— Billings added that she knew her character would have some kind of disability, though one that did not affect her intelligence. She was looking for a disability that “showed on the outside.” Cerebral palsy fit that concept.

Benson is confined to a wheelchair throughout most of the story, but does gain some confidence after she gets braces for her legs, enabling her to walk. While walking does help, there are still other hurdles to overcome though.

“She’s not able to communicate well with others … people don’t understand that she’s really intelligent,” Benson said. “Mia (Lucy’s best friend) helps her a lot through her journey. There’s also a boy that comes into the picture.”

How Benson handles physical and emotional challenges brings into the story family, relationships and friendships. There are also a few twists and each section is preceded by quotes carefully picked by Billings.

“They do lend a little bit of a message to what’s coming up…they relate so well to the entries themselves,” said Mark Billings, Erin’s father said,

He also said that he and the rest of Erin’s family are very proud of what she has written and of the courage it took her to tackle the subject of bullying.

“Give your kids a chance and they can probably produce and give you things that you’d really be surprised with,” he said.

Joe Adamiszyn of Open Door Publishers in Malta, published “Sincerely.”

“We believe that the target market for Sincerely goes beyond teens. In the story, there is a teacher who couldn't see beyond Lucy's disability and even family members who couldn't understand. Adults need to know the impact of their words and actions toward kids have an affect too,” he said.

He added that Erin is a gifted writer, able to address the topic of bullying and turn it into a story of triumph.

Billings said that it took about five months for her to write the book, which was a little hectic when combined with school. A lot of her time was devoted to researching cerebral palsy and having friends review the story. She said that she plans on going to college for English, her favorite subject. She’s also started working on another book, though she hasn’t settled on the title.

To purchase “Sincerely” or learn about Benson’s local book signings, visit opendoorpublishers.com.

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