by Nicole Hackett, Student Public Relations Writer
Students out of the professional writing and information design program at Cedarville University usually find their niche as an editor, web writer, copywriter or instructional designer. But for 2020 alumna Sarah Pennington, she has her sights on becoming a full-time novelist. She has already self-published three young adult novels available on Amazon.
Pennington specializes in retelling classic fairy tales in historically inspired fantasy lands. This genre has become increasingly popular with books series like Lunar Chronicles or television shows like ABC’s “Once Upon A Time.”
“Retelling fairy tales is where I started in 2012,” said Pennington. “My first serious story was a retelling of “Snow White.” I enjoy reading retold fairy tales, and after I read something I like to try to do it myself.”
Pennington’s first published book, “ Blood in the Snow,” combines the stories of “Snow White” and “The Goose Girl” in an ancient China-inspired setting. It won a perfect score in Rooglewood Press’s Five Poisoned Apple, a writing contest hosted by Pennington’s favorite author, Anne Elisabeth Stengl. “Blood in the Snow” was listed on Amazon Kindle Christian fantasy bestseller list the day it was published.
Pennington’s next book, “Mechanical Heart,” was published in 2019 and is a retelling of “Rapunzel” in the steampunk science fiction genre. Her latest book, “The Midnight Show,” was written during the coronavirus pandemic. It is set in the jazz age of the Roaring ’20s and retells “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”
But Pennington is more than just a writer; she is also a designer. While many writers hire book designers when publishing, Pennington provided the layout, typography, chapter pages, headers and footers for all of her books and created the cover design for her third title.
Currently, all of Pennington’s books stand alone and explore topics such as whether the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and handling bitterness toward groups or social classes who have harmed you in the past.
“Even if I don't set out to write an explicitly Christian novel, the themes, the stories and, in many cases, the characters, reflect what I believe,” explained Pennington. “A subtheme that tends to show up in a lot of my writing, both published and unpublished, is that I have a lot of characters who have some degree of faith.
“Because of that faith, they believe that they've been given a purpose or a mission and are trying to figure out what that looks like when the world seems to be pushing against them. It’s an idea I approach from a distinctly Christian standpoint — that people have a purpose, they have a responsibility to do certain things, and the reason why is that God put them there to do those things.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and Information Design, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and high student engagement ranking. For more information about Cedarville University, visit www.cedarville.edu.