‘Wow I am an author at 16!’

Kerese Oakley Williams admits she was confused when her mother asked her about writing a book.

Her bewilderment, she explained, was rooted in the fact that she had never before had a discussion like that with her mother.

But the 16-year-old said that after being motivated by the Holy Spirit, she decided to write the book, which she named Paradox, at the height of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“I played it off, but then, as the days went by the Holy Spirit said to me, ‘Write the book, write the book,’ so I did. Even though I didn’t know where to start or what to start with, it was definitely an experience and the Holy Spirit led me,” she told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview.

The young author, who lives in Kingston and is a sixth-form student at St Andrew High School for Girls, said she was happy about writing a book at such a young age.

“It is just so crazy — wow, I am an author at 16! It is really amazing and I just hope that other teenagers will be inspired and actually see that age is just a number. If you have a passion or a goal just go after it, because I believe that there is no junior Holy Spirit. The same spirit that the Lord gave all of us is within us. I am just so happy,” she said.

She noted that her passion for writing developed after attending Sophomore Academics while in fourth form, where she gained descriptive and persuasive writing skills.

“Mr Duane Burke [English teacher] helped me to develop a love for English and a love for writing, and because of that my mom [Lanie Oakley Williams] knew that I had a passion for writing based on that experience,” she said.

According to Kerese, the 66-page Christian inspirational book was published by AuthorHouse in January. She explained that it is mostly geared towards encouraging youngsters to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, as many tend to get involved in life-altering situations which have mental, physical and emotional effects.

Paradox is set around the context of being in this world but not of this world, so that’s basically the whole context of being a Christian. My life experiences, failures and my journey with Christ actually inspired me and all of the lessons and the stories I put within the book. We have to align our lives to the standards of God so that He can lead us, and we can fulfil our God-given destiny on this Earth,” she said.

Although many students view online school as a disadvantage, Kerese said she finds it beneficial, as there is more time allocated for different aspects and passions of her life. She explained that during school hours she completed assignments and studied, while at nights she focused on her book.

She pointed out that even though writing the book was a fun and interesting experience, editing posed a challenge.

“It was very interesting, because it was my first book and we didn’t really know what to do. So we asked other Jamaican authors how they got their books published. The hardest part about writing the book was editing because it was a back-and-forth process, as the publishing company is overseas and there was not much direct communication,” she said.

Kerese recently presented a copy of her book to Prime Minister Andrew Holness in Portmore, St Catherine, resulting in him praising and encouraging her on his Instagram and Twitter accounts to continue inspiring youngsters with her great work.

“I am just giving God thanks. It is definitely amazing and so surreal, and I cannot believe that the prime minister would really allow me this opportunity to share with the country and rather the Caribbean, the production of God’s work, and so I am very happy, thankful and ecstatic,” she said.

Kerese plans to write a science book, and hopes that Paradox will inspire people to live a better life and trust in the Lord.

“I hope this book will inspire not only young people but other individuals to realise the beauty in living for the Lord, and the beauty in trusting the Lord with your life. I really want people to think about the fact that being a Christian, especially at a young age, does not prevent you from living life but helps us live life truly and how God wants us to live — free from depression and sin,” she said.

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