Mandan mom, daughter publish novel

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 1:18 PM CDT
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MANDAN, N.D. - Finding ways to spend time with your kids gets harder as they get older. Those trips to the zoo or the park that they loved so much as toddlers, just aren’t the same when they’re in middle school.

Parents often have to get creative and try new things.

For one Mandan mom, it meant dreaming up a whole new story. The results are something even she never expected.

Eja Holkup loves a good book.

“I love all the Harry Potter books. I’ve read them over and over again,” said 12-year-old Eja.

Now, she’s got a new book on her reading list. This one is a little extra special because Eja and her mom wrote it.

“It’s called ‘Book of Quilia,’” she said.

“Book of Quilia” is a project Eja and her mom Megan have been working on for four years. It’s the story of Liz, a 13-year-old girl with a gift of memory.

Megan and Eja started writing as a way to spend time together.

“When Eja was seven, I had gotten sick. I had gone into septic shock and been in the hospital. And when I’d gotten out of the hospital, I had been quite ill,” recalled Megan. “We weren’t able to bond and the usual ways that people are able to bond we had been used to playing basketball and being very physical and hanging out a lot. And so, we just wanted to hang out like normal parents and kids do.”

Megan bought a blank journal. Together, they filled the pages. At first, Megan wrote most of the text and Eja filled in the blanks. As Eja got older, she wrote more.

Megan never expected their writing would fill two journals and eventually become a published novel.

“It’s become a bigger deal than we expected,” said Megan.

For Eja, this book is a dream come true.

“I’ve always wanted to be an author,” said Eja.

She’s not done yet. Eja and her mom have already started working on another book. They hope to make “Book of Quilia” a trilogy.

But even if they never publish another book, both said the best part of writing has been the time spent together.

“Hanging out with my mom,” said Eja.

“It was about accomplishing something with her and bonding with my daughter,” added Megan.

A bond forever strengthened by the words on these pages.

“Book of Quilia” is available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also purchase it locally at Ferguson Books.

You can follow along with Megan and Eja’s work on their Facebook page, Lantern Media.