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October 31, 2013

Publisher buys Warrenton native’s first novel

Whitney Grady: “I have always been a writer.”
“I Am Currency” cover.
> Video at bottom of story.

Warrenton native Whitney Lawrence Grady, an experienced educator and writer, has released her first novel.

Pants on Fire Press published “I Am Currency” in print Oct. 21, about two months after Amazon made it available on Kindle.

Mrs. Grady describes her new book as “a young adult adventure, appropriate for middle school ages through adults. The book reflects my love of literature and hopes to bring readers on a quest to read and appreciate classics.”

The writer attended Highland School from kindergarten through eighth grade and graduated from Flint Hill High School in 1995. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999 and a master’s in education from East Carolina University in 2002.

Betty and “Buddy” Lawrence, previously of Warrenton, are her parents.

Mrs. Grady owns and operates St. Mary’s Nursery School in Kinston, N.C., where she and her husband live with their two children. She previously taught middle school language arts.

“I have always been a writer,” she said. “Even when I was young, I wrote in journals and diaries and wrote poetry for fun. My profession has always been teaching; writing has always been a hobby. I have had small pieces published on the side, but this is my first novel.

“I was thrilled to find a boutique publisher in Florida that was looking for submissions for ‘Young Adult Fiction.’ I was shocked when they quickly responded to my query letter wanting the first three chapters of my book and then was amazed when they immediately asked for the entire manuscript. Soon after, they called me to acquire the book and we signed an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and contract.”

About a year later, Pants on Fire published the book, with a video trailer (embedded below) and this description:

In I Am Currency, knowledge is not only power . . . it is currency. Nevel Walker’s photographic memory makes him more valuable than he may like in a post-apocalyptic world after books have all-but disappeared. When a meteor slams into the earth causing a shift in the earth’s magnetic core, the age of technology ends and economies across the globe crash. So for tenth-grader Nevel Walker, having a photographic memory is a secret his family has to try to keep. With a dystopian government that keeps all known books under lock and parents involved in an underground movement to protect the books that do still secretly exist, Nevel is in a dangerous position. A chase through the Australian Outback changes Nevel’s fate as he finds love, mystery, and almost-certain death.

Mrs. Grady’s written works have been published in “A Cup of Comfort for Teachers” (lead story in the anthology edited by Colleen Sell), “Imagining Heaven” (an anthology compiled by Linda Matney, with all proceeds benefiting Hospice), “Her...Magazine” in Greenville, N.C., and other periodicals.

> Video trailer for “I Am Currency”

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