Teen turns movie character into a book

FAIRMONT – Fairmont High School junior Anna Boettcher was intrigued by a minor character in a movie she watched as a 10th-grader.

The character, a man named Paul in the 2008 movie “Milk,” inspired her so much that she sat down and began writing him a backstory.

Her story – “Paul” – became a 375-page novel she finished in three months, and then had published by PublishAmerica.

Boettcher was inspired by the character because he lived a life of hardship.

Her book jacket describes it this way: “Paul DuFresne is an insecure, troubled teenage boy who has been out of high school for roughly half of a year, and remains to live at his torturous, agonistic home without any existent plans or abilities to partake in a regular, traditional future, let alone does he believe he can escape his tyrannical, moralistic mother’s desperate, anchoring pull.”

While she was writing, Boettcher also went to school and kept up on her homework, which meant she wrote whenever she could fit it in, often late into the night.

Her mother, Susan Bodeker, was aware of her daughter’s project, and had her concerns.

“I knew she had been writing every day in her room for hours,” Bodeker said. “She would stay up really late. I told her to stop.”

But she didn’t.

“It was my way to escape,” Boettcher said, “because my life was really hard. It made me happier.

“I wrote all the time,” she added. “I wrote through school. I’d write in the library.”

Boettcher worked on her book in the same manner as many authors – she knew how she wanted the story to end and wrote it backwards.

Her step-dad, Brad Bodeker, an author himself, advised her to contact PublishAmerica.

According to the company’s website, it accepts more new and unpublished authors than any other traditional book publisher in the nation, and specializes in stories of people who face and overcome hardship.

When Boettcher finished “Paul,” she realized she wasn’t quite done with his story, and went on to write three more books that she has not yet published.

Boettcher has been shy about sharing her work – she didn’t let anyone read it before it was published – and only a handful of her teachers and classmates have read it now, although others have been supportive.

“Everyone has been really excited,” she said. “No one has really hated on me or anything.”

Her grandmother is currently reading the book, something Boettcher is somewhat embarrassed about.

“It is a love story,” she said.

Susan Bodeker was surprised by how her daughter ended the story.

“I really liked it,” she said. “The ending surprised me, and shocked me.”

Now that she has the story on paper, Boettcher is taking a break from writing novels. She wants to write because she is inspired, not because she has to.

“I think if it was made into a job it would ruin in,” she said.