Freshman Pens Children’s Adventure Book by 18
University of St. Thomas freshman Janna Tierney can proudly tout that she successfully self-published her first book, “Kerry, Ireland A.D. 800,” before she turned 18.
Two years ago, Tierney, an English major, began writing the book as a class project. A homeschooled student, Tierney’s mother suggested she use a story she wrote in seventh grade as a starting point.
“From the beginning, it was very self-motivated,” Tierney said. “I loved creating the characters and putting in little bits of literary techniques that the kids could find, like foreshadowing, allusion to allegory and character development. All of these things are really important for them to recognize, and it sparks their literary imagination.”
Her book tells the story of Medieval Irish people through the perspective of four children. Set in Ireland's majestic Ring of Kerry in the year 800, the tale is an inspiring coming-of-age adventure that deals with life lessons on the backdrop of an educational and entertaining plot. The book is for ages eight and up, and Tierney said she wanted to make sure to incorporate ancient Irish folklore and mythology to make the story culturally rich.
“There is nothing in the market for that age and in that time period that isn’t blatantly anti-Catholic or has a Pagan-way of looking at early-Christian Ireland,” Tierney said. “I wanted to share this story of Western Civilization as a common heritage. We were doing some really cool things in the monastery, some great thinking was going on, and it’s really down played in the United States.”
Tierney said she did extensive research to depict faith as it relates to daily life as accurately as she could.
“In the course of Irish history, faith played a major role in developing and shaping the history,” Tierney said. “It definitely portrays that faith is active in people’s lives and that God and the intervention of the Saints is there and real.”
Tierney was homeschooled with Home Run Ministries in Kingwood, Texas. She completed courses online from Home School Connections, which teaches middle and high school students in the Catholic tradition of educating the heart, mind and soul. She said she learned how to self-teach her history courses and this method prepared her for college.
Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Arthur Ortiz said homeschool students are academically prepared and do very well at UST.
“Homeschool students make up about 6 percent of our incoming class most years,” Ortiz said. “They are prepared for UST in that most of them are familiar with and are products of a classical, liberal arts style of education.”
Tierney wanted to continue her study of Irish history and culture, and she said UST was a good fit for her because of the William J. Flynn Center for Irish Studies
. After sitting in on her mother’s UST graduate history class, Tierney, who moved to Houston only three years ago from California, said she was hooked.
Tierney plans to write when she has free time, but she said she is excited for her first year at UST. She plans to be involved with the Irish Club and Celts for Life.