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Alumni Stories: Writing Novels and Saving Environments

By John Robert Morton, Student and Affairs Liaison, and Storm Young, AMU Graduate

From a young age, stories inspired graduate Storm Young to work on her writing skills. Growing up in Friendly, West Virginia, Storm spent most of her time with her father and grandfather.

Storm says, “Those two wonderful men taught me how to always fight for the things I wanted in life. Looking back at my life, I believe my younger self would be proud of the person I am becoming. I hope that every year, I keep progressing and getting better at my writing.”

A Writing Career Takes Off

AMU alumna Storm Young

When Storm was little, her grandfather would tell her wild, improvised stories. She aspired one day to tell stories of the same quality.

After Storm did well on a writing assignment in middle school, one of Storm’s teachers advised her to pursue a career in writing and consider authoring a book. This compliment from her instructor was the inspiration she needed to continue writing.

In 2021, Storm began writing a novel called, “The Pen Pal: A West Virginia Mystery.” After finishing her first draft, she sent it to a few friends and asked for their critiques. After reassurance from her friends, Storm sought out other authors for their guidance on the publication process.

Storm credits those other authors for their mentorship and guidance, noting that having a strong network is essential to anyone’s success. She says, “After gaining that support and doing my research, I decided to self-publish.”

In Storm’s first novel, her main character, Shiloh Ray, is a military wife, new mother, and college student suffering from postpartum depression and loneliness. She encounters a pen pal, Penelope, who mysteriously vanishes later on in the novel, and Shiloh travels to West Virginia to find out what happened to her friend.

The success of the first book led to a second novel, “The Final Secret,” which was published on October 31, 2022. For this novel about family secrets, Storm was inspired by her grandfather’s habit of daily journaling.

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Being Nominated for the Ann Kathryn Flagg Artist of the Year Award

In the fall of 2022, Storm won the Ann Kathryn Flagg Award, according to Tyler Star News. This prize is a prestigious award from The West Virginia Women’s Commission.

Storm has also been selected as a finalist for best author in the Best of West Virginia Living Contest. The winner will be announced in the 2023 winter issue West Virginia Living magazine.

Developing a Passion for the Law and the Environment

In addition to a love for writing, Storm is interested in the law and the environment. At her husband’s recommendation, she enrolled in American Military University (AMU) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in legal studies in 2022.

Storm’s favorite class was environmental law. The research for the class also helped her as an author because it taught her how to conduct thorough, proper research for each of her books.

That same class inspired her to sign up for a master’s degree in environmental policy and management. She notes, “I love this school; all the professors and the staff here truly care about the students and their education. Plus, it is super affordable!”

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Encouraging Other Authors to Perfect Their Writing

Storm’s message for future authors is “Write a lot and read a lot! You can learn tons from other writers.” Also, Storm says that “Your first book will never be perfect. But with each book, you will learn more and get better every time.”

Storm’s future goals include finishing her master’s degree, having at least one of her books converted into a movie and writing one book every year.

About the Author

John Robert Morton is a Student & Alumni Affairs Liaison and has been with the University for 13 years. His bachelor’s degree in European history is from Troy University in Troy, Alabama. He also completed master’s degrees in political science and sports management from American Military University. As a liaison, John Robert enjoys helping students and alumni to achieve their personal and professional goals.

About Our Department

The AMU and APU Alumni Affairs Office is dedicated to sustaining lifelong relationships with university alumni by providing engaging opportunities to stay involved and connected. We work closely with a variety of stakeholders to strengthen the alumni experience and to offer a variety of benefits, services, activities, and events throughout the year.

As a team, the Alumni Affairs team works to build and sustain relationships with alumni along their personal and professional journeys. We actively look for ways to recognize and showcase alumni, telling their stories to motivate and encourage students in the pursuit of their goals.

If you are a member of the alumni community and are looking for ways to remain actively involved, please contact and speak with a member of the team.

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