Written by Camille White // Photo by Macy Cox
This past summer, two Harding students published their first books. Senior Kayln Epperson wrote a children’s book, “Hello Hospital,” and graduate student Karrisa Neal wrote a poetry book, “The Things I Never Said.”
Epperson, a senior child life major and president of the Family and Consumer Sciences Student Association, said she started writing her book in May, and it was published July 29. “Hello Hospital” is an informational book for children. It includes pictures, graphics and descriptions of common medical equipment and personnel they might encounter in the hospital.
“I did a practicum this summer, which is like a mini internship, and there were so many kids that I would talk to and they would be like, ‘I just don’t know what’s going on,’” Epperson said. “The next thing I know, the Lord is having me writing all these thoughts down, and next thing I know I was writing a book about how to explain the hospital to children.”
Epperson said she used Canva Pro to design and Amazon to self-publish her book. Additionally, she said that her next book, “Hello Jesus,” is already written, and she is currently working on a children’s book discussing diabetes.
Neal is a graduate student pursuing a certification in project management and serves as the program coordinator for the Mental Health and Wellness graduate program. Neal said she began writing “The Things I Never Said” in February of 2023. It is the first book in a three-part poetry series. Additionally, she said she is planning to release her first novel in December of 2024.
“The idea for the novel was what really kickstarted everything, and then I had ideas for different things,” Neal said. “This wasn’t the first poetry book idea I had, it was just the first one that went through every process.”
“The Things I Never Said” discusses body image, relationships and reconciliation.
“I literally was trying to look at it from the point of view of like me kind of talking to my 16-year-old self,” Neal said.
Assistant professor of English Paulette Bane, who published in 2022 both a poetry collection called “Wading Through Lethe” and an additional 25 poems in the anthology “Wild Muse: Ozarks Nature Poetry,” shared her advice on writing.
“If you want to be a writer, you have to write,” Bane said. “You have to make time. That includes silencing the inner critic long enough for you to get words on the page. You can invite the critic back at a later stage, but during the writing phase just get to work.”