By: Kerry Ingram, Staff Writer
Some college students might equate their essay assignments with writing a novel, but 19-year-old Meryl Thomas, a Towson sophomore, isn’t fazed by either prospect. Thomas just published her debut novel and is currently working on her second book.
“The manuscript was more tedious than expected,” Thomas said. “Not only do you have to worry about formatting, but also the editing, which took a long time because I was constantly finding new mistakes every time I went through.”
Thomas recently took to the company Amazon and their publishing platform CreateSpace to self-publish “The Ringmaster’s Society,” a story about students training to become ringmasters while simultaneously discovering secrets about the community in which they live. Thomas credits the idea of the fantasy-thriller to her interest in circus life, as well as her own creativity, which is reflected in her personal style. During her conversation with The Towerlight, Thomas, who sat cross-legged in her chair at Cook Library’s Starbucks, wore a graphic t-shirt with a flowing red skirt, matching bright red tights and a pair of crisp white pumps.
She expressed that she was “very passionate about the arts” and how she used her hobby of painting to create different pieces of artwork for her novel’s characters. The painting beside her was of a dark-haired woman wearing a ringmaster’s costume while surrounded by fire. She painted a tiger sitting within the flames.
Thomas often carries original paintings around campus, and each one displays colorful pictures that she often asks others to interpret for themselves. This painting is clearly one related to her book — she painted her novel’s title above her signature on the left side of the canvas.
Thomas notes that she had known she would become an author for at least the last decade of her life.
“I realized from the young age of 10 that I wanted to be published,” Thomas said. “When I was in school, I used to write in composition books and I made it feel like it was my own book. I would make my own covers and paste them on the covers of the journals. I would share them in school, and it got a lot of people’s attention because it wasn’t an average thing to see. After doing that in school, that drove me to have a goal of actually being published one day.”
Thomas wrote stories prior to “The Ringmaster’s Society,” but none of them kept her interest long enough to be completed.
“When I first started writing, I started writing online,” Thomas said. “I saw that most people wrote fanfictions and love stories, so I tried to write romantic fiction to get noticed but I got really bored because I had no passion for the genre. People liked it, but I didn’t like it, so I put those stories aside and came up with this one.”
Thomas has since worked with Towson’s modeling club, Modelz of Distinction, as well as the photography club on campus in order to put a photoshoot together for the book. She hopes to earn the book more popularity on campus before eventually extending sales into other mass retailers.
“I hope to see that this book can connect to many people and that readers will love the world I have created for them just as much as I do,” Thomas said.