High-flying author wings her way to Howick College

The Creative Writers Group with successful teen author JL Pawley.

Jess Pawley created a lot of excitement with brown feathered wings that were four metres long when she visited Howick College recently.

The author signed her first publishing contract at the age of 22 and penned her first novel at age 11.

She says writing has always been an addiction for her.

She was invited to Howick College by the Creative Writing group and passed on this important message – hard work and determination is a pay-off.

Pawley’s Young Adult series Generation Icarus has been flying high since being picked up by Auckland publishers Steam Press in 2016.

Her book Air Born is the first in the series of stories about teens who have wings. After gaining a huge following on Wattpad (a community of readers and writers), Jess decided to self-publish and it was this version that was discovered by Auckland publisher Steam Press.

Since then, the story has been re-worked and has enjoyed great international success with Russian and Chinese editions and a TV series under discussion. The second book in the series Take Flight is due out in August this year.

Gaining a Diploma in Writing while also completing NCEA Level 3, she says that since then, she has worked hard at accumulating an astounding 1.6m words over the course of writing and re-writing the four books in the Generation Icarus series, her Master’s Thesis, two novellas and other works.

About her wings, they were created by a US company and feature in Pawley’s author events, wowing the audiences.

Geraldine Jamieson, English teacher and supporter of the school’s creative writing group, said it was a school trip to the recent Auckland Writers Festival that spurred her to set up the visit.

“The students were so intrigued by Pawley’s presentation (and her wings of course) that we thought it was a great opportunity to invite her to school to inspire more students to continue to write and perhaps publish their work,” she says.

Jess shared tips with the aspiring writers on characterisation, plot and editing. She reminding them that the first draft is only the starting point, “The draft is the clay – get that muck on the wheel and start sculpting,” she said.