Two Authors Tell Students to Pursue Their Dreams


Miranda Paul and Melissa Gorzelanczyk

Ava Vande Corput, Staff Writer, Journalism

When we were kids, we all had hopes and dreams to become someone such as a professional singer, dancer, actor, football player or even a superhero, but two individuals who visited journalism class aspired to be professional writers.

NDA alumni Miranda Paul and Melissa Gorzelanczyk both found their passion for writing in a similar way and age.

“I was eight years old and in grade school when I had to write and illustrate a book. After writing the book, I knew that this is what I wanted to do for a career. I would stay up until two a.m as a middle-schooler and teenager just writing. It was something I  did when I was mad at my parents, or a boy didn’t like me or something bad happened at school,” said Paul.

“For a while, I wanted to be a gymnast and then a figure skater. I think ‘wanting to be famous’ is a simpler way to explain how I felt as a young girl. What I probably wanted most was to do work I felt mattered, to have a voice in the world where I felt invisible most of the time. I wanted people to know my name for something worthy I had done. When I was nine years old, I wrote my first book and it just clicked, and my heart was in it,” said Gorzelanczyk.

When Paul and Gorzelanczyk graduated from high school, they became involved with different writing programs.

“When I graduated high school, I started writing for a small newspaper in Wisconsin. Then I moved to Green Bay and worked my way up to become an editor at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. I also became the editor of You magazine,” said Gorzelanczyk.

“When I graduated from Notre Dame Academy, I attended St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and I was the editor and chief of the college newspaper. After college, I started writing for the Homestyle section in the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Later I started editing and writing for children’s magazines, and I fell in love,” said Paul.

After working for the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Gorzelanczyk still had a desire to write a novel of her own. She discussed it with her husband and decided to quit her day job and focus on writing a book. Meanwhile, writing for kids’ magazines inspired Paul to write and publish children’s books of her own.

However, the road to publishing a book isn’t always easy. In fact, it is filled with many roadblocks, cracks in the road and even dead ends.

“Rejection is part of this, and you just have to get used to it. You just have to expect it, and then it’s not so bad,” said Paul.

“I remember I went to a conference, and I sat down with the editor of the book series, Harry Potter. She had read my stories and told me there was no depth or plot,” said Gorzelanczyk.

With lots of hard work, revisions and staying up late, Paul was able to publish her first book called One Plastic Bag, which was inspired by her time in the West African country of Gambia.

This book was made a reality with the help of her editor Gorzelanczyk. After publishing her first book, Paul published four more children’s books.

Gorzelanczyk was also successful with her writing and ended up publishing her first novel in January called Arrows, which is now available at Barnes and Noble. Paul helped with the writing of this novel by reading many revisions of the story.

Becoming an author for children and an author of young adults, Paul and Gorzelanczyk have become successful by helping each other along the way. Currently each writer has new things that they are excited for in the future.

Paul is writing a new children’s book called Are We Pear Yet? and Gorzelanczyk is working on new young adult books. Gorzelanczyk also is having a writing clinic and book signing in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on October 8, at the Mead Public Library in Maas Teen Learning Center.

After speaking to the journalism class, each successful author left the class with a piece of advice.

“Shoot for the stars and aim high; anything is possible,” said Paul.

“Spend a lot of time reading and writing; it will help you become a better writer,” said Gorzelanczyk.