Local teacher pens young adult novel

A self-described book lover with an equal passion for writing, Alpena native Chanda Stafford recently celebrated the publication of her debut novel, “First,” from Red Adept Publishing.

Stafford, who currently lives in Alpena, teaches English and language arts at Hillman Junior/Senior High School. She said that being around her students helps her “find a voice for the young adult protagonists in my stories.”

A dystopian novel set in a futuristic United States, “First’s” world is one where those with enough power and influence can live forever, if only by transferring their minds into a younger person’s body.

Unlike most young adult novels, “First” is written in alternating viewpoints. Mira is a 17-year-old girl caught in between doing what’s right for her family and her country and living her own life. Socrates, a man who has undergone the mind transplantation procedure several times, wars with his own demons and fading memories.

The book, which was released May 13 , has already received several positive reviews. Tracy Kiser, a book reviewer from The Coffee Pot, an online blog states, “If you loved the Hunger Games trilogy, get ready for your next obsession.”

Renee Giraldy, from Reading Renee, calls “First” “a new ‘niche’ in the young adult dystopian category” and that although it has an intense and ominous premise, it “is a novel about hope and belief in the future.”

As an author, Stafford always has many projects going at once. First and foremost, her goal is to finish the Live Once trilogy, of which “First” is the introductory novel.

Stafford graduated from Alpena High School in 1999. From there, she attended Alpena Community College and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with an emphasis on English from Anderson University in Anderson, Ind. She currently lives in Alpena with her husband, Jeff, and a menagerie of pets.

Aside from teaching and writing, Stafford spends her time with her family and her online antique business.

Stafford will attend a book signing at Blue Phoenix Books in downtown Alpena on Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. She will have books available and would also love to talk to others who love reading and writing as much as she does.

Her book is also available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and can be ordered both for the Kindle and in paperback. She also maintains a website, chandastafford.com, that includes information about her book, upcoming events, future projects, and links to her Facebook and Twitter pages.