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Amalie Weihrauch

A Portrait of the Siren as a Young Author

By Nate Fisher

“I knew I was going to write this book, and I knew I was going to get it published. From the moment I wrote the first sentence, I knew I was going to do it."

Amalie Weihrauch is an eighth-grader and published author whose first novel, A Siren’s Destiny: Dark Tide, has gained five-star review traction on Amazon. One reviewer writes, “Hard to believe someone so young wrote this book.” After chatting with Amalie and learning more about the inspiration behind the book, her writing process, and why she wants to become a mythological siren, we don’t find it hard to believe whatsoever. Amalie subscribes to the doctrine of believing yourself into being, however that may manifest in life. “I knew I was going to write this book, and I knew I was going to get it published,” she explains. “From the moment I wrote the first sentence, I knew I was going to do it.”

The fantasy/superhero adventure of A Siren’s Destiny arrived on the page one on a very specific date, one Amalie hasn’t forgotten in the flurry of re-drafts and new projects to follow. On New Year’s Eve, 2022, hours before the calendar turned over, she launched her imaginative versings into the first paragraph that has now evolved into an entire destiny for the titular siren. For what she intends as an eventual twelve-book series, the first entry sets the stage for a riveting narrative, a fantastical coming-of-age tale that follows a Chicago teenager who discovers the mythical power of the siren and the wild adventure it unleashes.

Let’s talk about sirens. If you don’t happen to be a sailor or appreciator of classic literature like Homer’s Odyssey, then you may be in the dark on the subject. A traditional siren is depicted as half woman, half bird, a hybrid creature that attracts prey through enchanting songs. If you hear their music, then you’re probably toast. Throughout history, sirens were known to sailors as “magical mermaids” (Amalie’s words), and their alluring melodies steered ships off course into dangerous waters or destructive shores. Amalie happily admits she’d love to be a siren. It makes sense, given that she plays a mean flute and adores music. The story she’s built showcases a different side to the ability of the siren, one where, perhaps, the siren’s song can be used as a superpower for the good of Chicago’s citizenry.

The inspiration for Amalie’s siren came to her after binging the Netflix series Wednesday, which depicts sirens as mermaid-like “outcasts” who can thrive on both land and water. To create her own take on the creature, Amalie followed Kirby Ferguson’s Basic Elements of Creativity: copy what you enjoy, transform it into something new, and then combine it with other transformed material to create a fresher, original work. If you want to see a famous example of these elements in action, rewatch the first Stars Wars film. Once you’re finished, consider that George Lucas ultimately combined ingredients from John Wayne-led westerns, World War II aviation films, Flash Gordon serials, and samurai movies directed by Akira Kurosawa into a synthesizing stew that we now revere as one of the most significant movie events of all time. Since Amalie is constantly cranking out new material, including projects unrelated to the already twelve-novel plan for the “Siren’s Destiny” series, we can easily see her eclipsing the total episode count for the Star Wars films in the next few years.

Despite her dedicated writing ethic, Amalie’s authorial pursuits aren’t necessarily her long-term career plans. Her professional goals are a radically different siren’s song: a biomedical chant that will attract the cure to diabetes. That’s right; Amalie intends to become a biochemist and work on crucial research that will bring us closer to a cure for diabetes, a condition she’s managed since her diagnosis at six years old. She’s diligent about having her synthetic insulin on hand, checking her blood sugar with a Dexcom system, and listening closely to her body throughout the day. If anyone understands the relief that diabetic people could feel in light of better treatment options and a possible cure, it’s Amalie, and she’ll most likely find that cure. After all, from the moment she wrote the first sentence of her novel, she knew she would publish. Maybe incredible feats are as easy as that if you’re willing to imagine yourself doing it. Around four years from now, if you’re in the St. Louis area sailing down Big Bend Boulevard near Washington University, keep an ear out for this siren’s guiding song.

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