Sophomore Publishes First Work of Fiction

April 15, 2011 / by / 0 Comment

By Doug Carroll
Communications Staff

There’s a difference between a writer and an author, and with the publication of his first novel GCU sophomore Cooper Nelson has crossed that great divide.

“Blume,” which became available this week on, tells the story of an 11-year-old girl and her family, who are forced to move into an underground bunker city after the mushroom cloud created by an atomic bomb blocks out the sun.

At 70,000 words and 247 pages, it’s no short story, and its creation was no short exercise for Nelson, a communications major. The book took nine months to write as he squeezed in the work around school, a job and basketball.

The inspiration for the story, he says, came from the eruption of an Icelandic volcano in April of last year, which disrupted air travel across western and northern Europe for a week.

“I thought it would be cool in a story if an explosion blocked out the sun,” says Nelson, describing the novel as a form of science-fiction.

The central character, named Allison Blume, is challenged to rise above her circumstances. Nelson says it was a challenge of his own to make the main character a pre-teen girl — and that’s why he did it.

Inspired by College of Liberal Arts instructor David Hayes and encouraged by fellow student Ben Hewitt, already a published author, Nelson got busy with the book last summer. He created a two-page synopsis to which he regularly referred as he wrote each of the nine chapters.

“There were times when I’d write for 30 minutes and others for four hours,” he says. “If I felt that what I was writing wasn’t good, I’d just stop and come back to it.”

Term papers for school and short stories always had come easily for him, but this was something else entirely.

“Dialogue and character progression are tough to write,” Nelson says. “But they’re important to making it seem real. I like the freedom of fiction, where I can write about what I know and make it into whatever I want. I can let my imagination go wherever it wants to go.

Cooper Nelson

“I always liked stories and movies that took people to a different place. I liked coming out of a movie and feeling that you were still in that movie.”

He says he won’t stop with “Blume.” In fact, he’s just getting warmed up. Already he has a plot and title (“Through the Eyes of Kings”) in mind for his next novel, and he says he’d like to write four books during his time at GCU.

With that as a goal, and drawing creative spark from the works of Ray Bradbury (“Fahrenheit 451”), Norman Partridge (“Dark Harvest”) and Stephen King, he keeps a folder of story ideas within reach.

“I think of good ones sometimes right before going to sleep,” Nelson says. “Ideas go through my head every day.”

For more about Nelson and “Blume,” go to

Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].

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