UCS teacher publishes young adult fiction novel

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 16, 2021

 Angel Favazza found some of her inspiration for her new young adult novel, “The Oculist’s Daughter,” from her great-grandparents.

Angel Favazza found some of her inspiration for her new young adult novel, “The Oculist’s Daughter,” from her great-grandparents.

Photo provided by Angel Favazza

 Angel Favazza loves the cover art for her steampunk book.

Angel Favazza loves the cover art for her steampunk book.

Photo provided by Angel Favazza

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Angel Favazza, of Shelby Township, who is an Advanced Placement literature/composition and writing center teacher at Stevenson High School in the Utica Community Schools district, released her newest young adult fiction book this month.

Favazza, who has lived in Shelby Township for 40 years, has written several other books, both poetry and prose, with a variety of publishers. This is her second young adult novel; her first was a bestseller called “Saving Death” from Alban Lake Publishing.

The new novel, “The Oculist’s Daughter,” is written in the first-person point of view as 16-year-old Lizzie Liberti — with help from her best friends, a gang of marauders and handsome Arapaho tracker Sky Hawk — learns the truth about her past after her father is kidnapped for his latest invention: a magnificent pair of goggles. “Oculist” is a former term for an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

“This novel is a young adult novel for those who love steampunk, the Wild West, or sci-fi. YA novels are written for readers (any gender) from 12 to 18 years of age. The subject matter and genres of YA generally correlate with the age and experience of the protagonist. However, while the genre is targeted at adolescents, approximately half of all YA readers are adults, including myself. I love reading YA fiction (especially sci-fi),” Favazza said in an email interview.

Favazza said she was inspired to write “The Oculist’s Daughter” not only for her love of historical romance and steampunk, but also to pay homage to her great-grandparents, James (JJ) Wilson and Catherine Wilson.

“My great-grandfather was Native American (of the Wiwa’towa, aka the Creek Indians of Alabama) and my great-grandmother was Caucasian. Their mysterious history has always fascinated me, and I have often wondered what it was like to be an interracial couple living in the Deep South in the early 1900s. Little is known about them, although I do know they raised six sons and one daughter in a two-bedroom house in Wedowee, Alabama,” she said.

Favazza said the novel took her about two years to put together.

“Like most writers who are also teachers, I write and edit during the summertime. However, with this novel, although it is steampunk (a subgenre of science fiction), it was set in the Old West and required quite a bit of historical research. The research and writing took me just over two years to complete,” she said.

She said she is happy with the way the novel turned out.

“I am very pleased with the book. And I think that the cover art is amazing,” she said.

Tyree Campbell, the editor in chief at Hiraeth Publishing, edited Favazza’s novel and said he found himself caught up in the world she created.

“‘The Oculist’s Daughter’ is a glistening jewel for steampunk and fantasy lovers alike. Favazza has developed quite a range,” he said in an email interview.

He said the book is, first and foremost, a steampunk adventure that gives the protagonists difficult problems to overcome.

“These range from finding Elizabeth’s father to resolving her romantic inclination toward Sky Hawk, and all points between. There is something happening on each and every page. The reader (and the editor) encounter a lull or two here and there, but these last just about long enough to catch one’s breath,” he said.

Campbell said what he likes most about the book is the character growth as they experience the events of the story.

“‘The Oculist’s Daughter’ is not a linear tale, going from point A to point B with nary a nod to the way characters change during the journey. Perhaps most telling is (spoiler alert) Elizabeth’s growth as an independent woman who takes charge of herself, even to sharing intimate relations with a man she desires but cannot have. Not all that many stories are worth reading again and again. This is one of them,” he said.

Favazza said she hopes to have book signing events planned soon; however, due to COVID-19, she hasn’t been able to have any.

“Since COVID, book signings and events have stalled. However, I am hopeful to have some signings at local libraries this fall,” she said.

She said she might have more books on the way.

“I am always writing, and a sequel might just be in the works. Check out my website for updates on upcoming projects. Stay tuned,” she said.

To see more of Favazza’s books, visit www.angelfavazza.com.

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