Sixteen-Year-Old Latina Publishes First Novel, “Dark Shadows”


By Staff


darkSixteen-year-old Rochester resident Kari Cepero always loved to write.

So, when she announced she wanted to write and publish her first book at the age of 13, no one was surprised.

And, earlier this year, that’s exactly what she did.

“I’ve always like writing,” Cepero stated. “Ever since I was little, I always liked to create stories. So, this was just an advancement in something I had always like doing.”

Cepero said it took her two years to complete her first novel, “Dark Shadows,” which is a science-fiction based book that is the beginning of a six-part series.

“I like fantasy and science fiction,” she stated. “I always wrote fantasy and science fiction. So that, for me, was what I wanted to go with, because that was what I enjoyed. Also, for the subject of the book, I wanted to do something that was different. I wanted to do something that was unique, and that was more substantial than most of modern literature today.”

Without giving too much away about the plot of her story, Cepero said wolves play a central role in the theme, which takes place in a world set on another planet.

“It’s about a battle between good and evil on this planet, but with a twist, so it’s not your typical good versus evil story,” she stated.

And, once Cepero had the book’s subject matter in place, the home-schooled teen said she began the writing process by sketching an outline for the story, and getting ideas from pictures, and her favorite Asian films, including the movie “Painted Skin,” which is a film based on supernatural fantasy.

“Asian films, in particular, influenced me based on the beautiful visuals, and excellent acting, so I kept these things in mind as I wrote,” she stated.

According to Cepero, her environment as a home-schooled student also played an important role in the process.

“Since I’ve always been home schooled, I’ve had a lot of exposure to art, music, film and literature, that I would probably not have been exposed to, had I gone to a traditional public school,” she stated. “It has always been an influence on my writing. I’ve also had a lot of exposure to fairy tales, and folk tales from different cultures. I’ve had an opportunity to do gardening, and also to learn different languages, and learn about a lot of different things students in most schools may not have a chance to learn about, at least not in the school system.”

Cepero said, overall, writing and publishing her first novel has taught her she can accomplish any of the goals she’s set in life, and, she would encourage other Latino youth, and all city youth, in particular, to do the same.

“I want to tell them that you can do whatever it is that you set your mind to,” she stated. “And, even if you encounter hardship, or discrimination along the way, you can still prevail, despite what others might tell you. You can still prevail, and do what you want to do, and do it well. Have a positive influence with what you do, not only with things like writing books, but with work, and with school, and with anything in life.”

Cepero is presently working on the next two novels in the series, which she said she hopes to finish by the time she graduates, at the end of the upcoming school year.

“I’m in the process of writing the next two books in the series right now,” she stated. “But, down the line, I might be interested in exploring the possibility of turning the books into a film, or TV series.”

Until then, Cepero said her first novel, “Dark Shadows,” as well as additional information regarding the book, is available on her website, at

Click here to comment on this article on our Facebook page.