Teen award-winning author has plans for more books

Rachel Eastman, a Flandreau sophomore who enjoys writing, spends time in the library at the school.

Flandreau author Rachel Eastman has several plots to future books going through her thoughts at any one time.
Sometimes it’s hard to even sit in her high school classes without thinking of stories.
The sophomore has been rewarded for her skill of writing by winning a silver medal nationally for the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards for her fiction novel, “The Daniel Project.”
She first was recognized at the state level with a Gold Key in February before advancing to the national competition among teens in grades 7-12 in 29 categories of writing. Works are judged on originality, technical skill and the use of voice or vision.
Her freshman English teacher Jamie Fryslie encouraged her to enter the competition.
“We didn’t do a lot of creative writing, but her essays and journals were very well written, and she had shared with me that she enjoyed writing creatively,” Fryslie said.
Besides encouragement, the only help Fryslie offered was some editing advice.
“Rachel is a unique student. She’s someone that seems fairly confident to be her own person, which is a difficult thing to be when you’re 16.  She has a unique writing voice that really seems to capture teenagers in this day and age.  She is also unique in her willingness to take action and do the extra work it takes to write a novel and submit it on her own.”
Eastman’s book, “The Daniel Project” is a story that takes place through the letters left behind by a boy named Daniel Harrison who died by suicide. His best friend, Caelyn Powell, reads the letters to find out the reason for his death.
While the story isn’t true, it is based on a friend that Eastman has that she wrote letters to, sharing emotions and thoughts.
Eastman wrote the 131-page book a year ago. Someday, she would like to get it published. “I might rewrite it in the future to fix it up,” she said.
She has enjoyed writing since she was about 8 years old. “I just like how I can write about my experiences. I like making up scenarios with myself, too. It just helps get out emotions and feelings,” she said.
Eastman writes every day, sometimes for hours and often journaling the ideas she has for about 15 books. “I have tons of drafts.”
Eastman, who also plays flute in band and is a member of First Nation’s Club in school, said writing is the one thing she excels at. “Not many people know it’s one of the best things I can do. I’m not good at a lot of stuff. I might like writing, but I’m terrible at poetry,” she said.
In addition to writing, she loves reading, mostly biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. She’s an honor roll student who also is doing college readiness work through a program at South Dakota State University.
Someday, she hopes to go to New York University because it has a good writing program. Her second choice is the University of Nebraska, Omaha.
She is the daughter of Emmett Eastman and Kimberly Schmidt.

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