Teen to sign new book at 1st Thursday
by The Press and Standard | July 25, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: July 24, 2019 at 9:48 am
A goose. His best friend. An eagle and an injured wing.
Those are all parts of “Tuah,” which tells the story of the life of an emperor goose in Alaska — a tale created in the mind of then 13-year-old Jeyda Bolukbasi of Walterboro. But unlike most teens with stories to tell, Jeyda turned her story into a published book, available on Amazon in both softcover and Kindle editions.
It all began with a trip to WalMart with her grandfather. Jeyda said they drove by the nearby retaining pond and her grandfather made a joke about all the geese that live there. “I was looking for inspiration at the time, so I thought, hey, maybe a goose would be a good idea,” she said.
After a little research, Tuah the Emperor Goose was born. The story of his life and adventures took Jeyda about three months to write, working every day after school. “It’s all she did in her free time — you couldn’t pull her away from her computer,” said mom Amy Coleman of Walterboro. “Then it took her a while to get up the courage to get it published, because that’s stressful. You create something, then it’s difficult to show it to the world because you’re going to be judged — people are going to read it.”
The story, Jeyda said is about all the changes Tuah goes through in life. “As he’s growing up, he meets another goose named Lexa and they become friends. Right before migration, they were getting all excited about migration and where they were going to migrate to the southern parts of Alaska. But right before, Lexa gets attacked by an eagle. He saves her, but in doing so, his wing is injured so he can’t really fly. And so Lexa stays with him throughout most of the winter, and when he’s ready to fly, they both go to the wintering grounds.”
The now 14-year-old, who will be a freshman at Colleton Prep this year, has always loved to read and write. “I started writing when I was 8. I wrote a different book, but I put that one on hold. I’m going to edit it later,” she said.
But writing is not her goal in life: she wants to be an ornithologist and study birds. She plans to go to Clemson for her undergraduate degree, then to Cornell for her master’s and Ph.D.
She does plan to continue to write; however, she just hasn’t decided on a topic for her next book yet, she said.
“I hope people read it,” said Amy. “Buying it is one thing, but I hope people actually read it. They’ll be impressed. She’s humanized this goose family. It’s so descriptive. It’s visual. You can completely visualize what she’s saying and see yourself in it. That’s what I was so impressed with.”
So far, Jeyda has made a number of book sales from Amazon and from hard copy sales of “Tuah.” She hopes to increase those numbers at next week’s First Thursday, when she will hold a book signing in front of Vis A’Vis, 244 E. Washington St. She also hopes to soon have copies available at the S.C. Artisans Center, Colleton Museum, Colleton County Memorial Library and other local outlets. Hard copies of “Tuah” are $10.99 and eBooks are $5.99.