Xavier Magazine


Somewhere among the core curriculum classes, midterm papers, lab reports and final essays, Xavier alums learned how to write. And at least some take that knowledge and apply it to the world of books. The following are some of the samples of recent books published by Xavier alumni:

Twisted Lit
By: Amy Helmes

Shakespeare is exciting for some and a chore for others, but everyone can enjoy the Bard’s tales reimagined by Xavier graduate Amy Helmes with her new series for young adults, Twisted Lit.

After graduating from Xavier, Helmes became a freelance journalist and now works as an editor for Soaps in Depth magazine, but Twisted Lit is her first time writing novels. It is all thanks to Kim Askew, Helmes’ friend and co-author, who asked Helmes if she wanted to work on a book together.

Helmes and Askew worked together for five years on “Romancing the Tomes,” a blog about film adaptations of books. But Askew was asking to write novel; a radically different experience.

“I was hesitant at first,” Helmes says, “but once we got going I really enjoyed it.”

Their first book, Tempestuous, retells Shakespeare’s The Tempest as a high school drama, where Miranda Prospero, a onetime “it-girl” who has fallen down the social ladder, takes advantage of a blizzard that strands herself in a mall with the clique responsible for her fall, to take revenge.

Helmes did not want to just update Shakespeare’s language, setting and characters, but she wanted the books to stand as uniquely their own. Helmes and Askew wanted to make Shakespeare’s stories accessible for everyone.

“We didn’t want to use Shakespeare as a paint by numbers, simply replacing the characters and setting,” Helmes says. “Rather we wanted to use our sources as a launching point and let the book move in its own direction.”imgres-1

But that does not mean Helmes is abandoning her Shakespeare roots. There are several self-described Easter eggs for Shakespeare readers to find and enjoy.

Helmes graduated from Xavier in 1996 with her bachelor’s degree in English. While studying at Xavier, Helmes served as the editor-in-chief for the Xavier Newswire, and was a co-vice president for the English Club.

Their second book, Exposure, a retelling of Macbeth as a quest for the title of prom queen, was released in January. Both books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


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