What began as a literary contest entry evolved into the first novel of the Vork Chronicles superhero book series.
Seventeen-year-old Highland Park resident Gracie Dix, whose parents say has written since she could hold a pencil, yearned to publish her writing.
That day arrived after she discovered a literary contest with a 50,000-word requirement. Before Dix knew it, she’d written more than 70,000 words.
“I like to engross myself in stories that can’t happen in real life,” she said. “I just love everything magical and supernatural.”
Welcome to Superhero School, released on National Superhero Day, April 28, follows teenage superheroes Oliver and Jessica Fletcher and their friends as they hone their powers and band together to defeat the villains of “Vork,” encountering everything from dragons to dinosaurs.
Letting her characters tell the story and writing what came to mind allowed the flow of the book to come naturally, said Dix, adding her high school experiences also informed the story. “I really wanted to put some relatable experiences in there so that [readers] would know possible right ways to solve their problems.”
“You just have to be yourself because that’s sometimes the hardest thing to do in this world. Being yourself is a superpower.”Gracie Dix, author of Welcome to Superhero School
Welcome to Superhero School emphasizes the power of friendship and draws inspiration from people close to Dix at the Shelton School.
Knowing her friends’ traits, mannerisms, and speech patterns made the creative process more comfortable, she said. “I love everything about my friends, and I value them and treasure them close to my heart.”
Dix’s passion for animals motivated her to base a character on her beloved Maltipoo dog, Snowball, and also donate $1 from every copy of Welcome to Superhero School sold to SPCA, up to $10,000.
“I just want animals to have support,” she said. “Animals need love, too.”
Journey to Superhero School, a prequel published in March, has been ranked an Amazon best-seller in teen and adult fiction, a No. 1 new release, and has been downloaded more than 4,000 times. Dix says she is “so happy that there are people out there, even from other sides of the world who really enjoy the message and who really enjoy my book.”
Readers won’t have to wait long to revisit the escapades of Oliver and Jessica Fletcher. A sequel to Welcome to Superhero School is in the works.
Much as superheroes rely on one another to defeat villains, Dix hopes her readers learn the value of loyalty and togetherness.
“You can’t go through life happy and successful without friends and family by your side to help you,” she said. “You have to lean on other people because loyalty is possibly the best trait anyone could ever have.”
For Dix, being a superhero isn’t about possessing special powers, but about being proud of the differences that make you who you are.
“I think that everyone has the potential to be a superhero,” she said. “You just have to be yourself because that’s sometimes the hardest thing to do in this world. Being yourself is a superpower.”
Learn More: Visit graciedix.com to read about the Vork Chronicles and author Gracie Dix.
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