“Terminal Regression,” a novel written by IU junior Mallory Hill, will be released Jan. 17. After winning the second annual Authors First Novel Competition, Hill’s novel will be published by the Story Plant, a publishing company dedicated to developing authors.
Lou Aronica, president of the Story Plant, said on the Authors First website “Mallory Hill is a tremendously gifted writer. ‘Terminal Regression’ took our imaginations for a ride.”
The novel, according to Hill, is about protagonist Laura Baily, who discovers a secret, socially-rejected community as a result of her suicide attempt. Although she is a self-proclaimed failure and feels her life lacks meaning, she becomes preoccupied with the trials and sufferings of others. Baily embarks on a quest for justice, searches for a reason to live, and questions the roles of purpose and passion in her life.
Hill began writing “Terminal Regression” her freshman year of college when she wanted to change her major, but was unsure what to change it to. Before settling on anthropology due to her interest in the legends and artifacts of past civilizations, she felt lost. Hill said in an email she felt like her entire world was falling apart; however, unlike most college students, she channeled her negative feelings into writing a novel.
After entering the Authors First Novel Competition to gauge her quality of writing and receiving runner-up honors with her novel “One Wish,” Hill was hesitant to enter “Terminal Regression” into the following year’s competition. Her hesitation stemmed from how closely Hill related – and at times still does relate – to the novel’s protagonist, she said in the email.
Hill has always been a shy individual who does not like to share her negative feelings with others. All of Hill’s doubts and fears of failure manifest in Baily, she said in the email, who is a magnified reflection of Hill’s emotional state while writing the novel.
“It’s about someone who is suicidal, and while I don’t think I’ve ever been so extremely desperate, I’ve been pretty down,” Hill said in the email about her book.
The novel centers closely on Baily’s search for both purpose and passion in her life — two things Hill said in the email she believes people prioritize in their lives.
“There’s an unspoken rule that you’re supposed to do something with your life that contributes to society, but we also want to do what makes us happy,” Hill said in the email. “I think it’s rare that the two should coincide, but I also think that’s what a lot of people strive for.”
Although Hill has said in the email she found her passion in creating new worlds and people, she is still unsure of her purpose in life. Like many students, Hill claims to have no idea what she’s doing.
Hill began writing when she was 14 because of her love for reading and her desire to read stories that did not yet exist. She now incorporates writing into her nightly routine by keeping multiple notebooks at the end of her bed. She said in the email that she is currently working on her 43rd unpublished manuscript, which may or may not stay unpublished.
Hill is not concerned with having her stories published because she writes for her own enjoyment; however, she said in the email she is thrilled to have “Terminal Regression” published even if her excitement is accompanied with nervousness. The release of her novel is helping Hill trust people will receive and relate to her work in a way that will establish a genuine connection between her and her readers.
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