- Associated Press - Sunday, August 10, 2014

NEWARK, Ark. (AP) - While many teen girls are concerned with the latest fashions, cell phones and their friends, 15-year-old Abby Summers has bigger issues - like how to convince major Hollywood producers to turn her book into a television series.

Summers has recently published her first book, “The Unknowns,” and while that might be satisfaction enough for some people, Summers is already planning the second book in what will be a trilogy and will be pitching her book before producers in Los Angeles in September, The Batesville Daily Guard reported (https://bit.ly/1oyMO26 ).

Summers’ fictional book, “The Unknowns,” centers around six teenagers who awake to find themselves in a forest and make their way to a place called Ataxia. The main character, Alex, is adopted and raised in an abusive home with alcoholic parents and has learned to survive on her own - a trait she would need to survive.

Summers’ book shows she’s got quite an imagination as it is a far cry from her real life with parents Mark and Crystal and brother, Andrew, 17, who has Bardet-Biedl syndrome with retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that will eventually take his sight.

The trip to Los Angeles will double as a family vacation and will include trips to the Grand Canyon and Hollywood.

“We just want to let him see while he still can,” Crystal said.

Although Summers had already determined she was going to write a book, she credits her brother with helping her to finish it as he pushed her to continue on, saying he looked forward to reading the story even though he normally hates reading.

“It was really encouraging getting Andrew’s approval,” she said. “I don’t think I could’ve finished it without the encouragement of my brother and friends.”

Those friends also include her best friend, Harmony Looney, and Jessica Burns.

“I’ve got a lot of my friends’ personalities in people (characters) but it doesn’t mean they’re based on them,” Summers said.

Summers has been writing since she was 7 years old.

“It’s rare if I don’t write in a day,” she said.

She is also an avid reader.

“I’ve always encouraged her to read. . I’m very proud of her,” Crystal said.

Not long after starting her book last year, Summers was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

“I’d been feeling bad for months,” she said. “I wanted to sit down and do nothing.”

But she did continue to write her book. Her symptoms include passing out, being thirsty, going to the bathroom a lot, feeling tired and having nausea. A trip to the doctor’s office sent Summers to Arkansas Children’s Hospital last Christmas where she was given insulin shots four times a day.

“She tested high for diabetes,” Crystal said.

Aside from the pain that came with shots, Summers didn’t like how strangers reacted to her.

“People stare at me,” she said, noting that needles tend to draw people’s attention. “A lot of people don’t know what diabetes means.”

Crystal explained that many people believe that diabetes can be controlled by diet which may be the case with Type 2 diabetes. In Summers’ case, however, her pancreas does not work anymore. Summers doesn’t have to worry anymore about unwanted stares and giving herself shots because she now wears a pump that keeps her sugar regulated.

As Abby completed her book, Crystal found a publisher. A month later they received the book.

“That was awesome. I kind of held it in my hands and stared at it,” Summers said. “I always wanted a book published but never finished (any).”

“She held that book in her hand and kept running her finger across her name. She kept saying, ‘Look Mom, that’s my name,’” Crystal said with a smile.

Abby’s father is just as excited about his daughter publishing a book, according to Crystal. “He encourages her like I do. He’s trying to sell her book. He’s very proud of her,” she said.

Summers was chosen by her publisher, Xlibris, as one of 10 authors to participate in an Author Solutions Pitchfest, an event that allows authors to deliver their story ideas for movie and TV show adaptation directly to Hollywood decision-makers.

“Bob Kosberg is going to be there,” Summers said of the author and producer. “He’s going to explain how to pitch.”

Attendees will attend a workshop to practice their pitch and then be given two minutes to pitch their idea to representatives from a variety of agencies, studios, management and production companies. Selected authors will be given an opportunity to pitch via video conference to Tom Jacobson, who has produced “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” ”Flashdance,” and “Christmas Vacation.”

“I know it’s a long shot but we’re excited anyway,” Crystal said.


Information from: Batesville Guard, https://www.guardonline.com/

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