Bartlett author clocks in 4 years of work by age 15

“Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.”
— Thomas Alva Edison

Hard work and talent have made many Bartlett High School students stand out, and sophomore Elena Schauwecker, 15, already has her own place in the spotlight.

She completed her first novel this December after working on it for the past four years with the help of her publisher. She started writing “The Silver Key” in the sixth grade and entered it into a contest hosted by Georgia-based BookLogix. A year later, she heard the good news: She won.

Her prize was a publishing contract with the company, and their professionals worked back and forth with her for the next several years. Her novel finally published in paperback and Kindle formats on Dec. 6.

Writing is a solitary craft, and she learned at an early age just how much grit it takes to keep slogging away at the keyboard even when the work becomes tedious and the end is far out of sight.

It was definitely educational, she said. “I want to be a writer when I’m older, and this kind of told me just how the process worked.”

She described her novel as a fantasy book for young adults. The main character, 14-year-old Alyssa, is whisked out of her happy life when one little key falls into her hands. She’s transported to the sun world, where magic is real and where, unfortunately, there’s a dark side of reality: The evil world of Meladyne. Her best friend, Hazel, is taken captive to Meladyne, and it’s up to Alyssa and her friends to rescue Hazel and also the world of light.

Schauwecker said she wants to write another novel but is ready to branch out into something new after four years of work on “The Silver Key.”

Writing is hard to juggle with school and her other interests of playing the flute, serving in the marching band’s color guard and performing in theater. But she can’t stay away from her stories for long.

“I have a lot of ideas, so I’m kind of working on one now,” she said.

She hopes to make a full-time living as a writer someday but is practical enough to plan for a day job editing or doing other writing-related work, just in case.

Fantasy authors are her favorites, including J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan and Terry Goodkind.
Schauwecker is the daughter of Margaret and Chad Schauwecker, and she has two younger siblings: Eddie, 14, and Mady, 9.

“The Silver Key” is available in paperback for $10.95 on the publisher’s website at and on Amazon. It’s also available in Kindle format on Amazon for $3.95.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or