Senioritis is always affecting high school students’ motivation, but Erin Wynn did not succumb. Instead, she wrote the novel “Bypass to Babylon.”
Wynn is a first-year sophomore majoring in English at Northern Kentucky University.
“Bypass to Babylon” is utopia gone awry (a.k.a. distopia) combining Orwellian and feminist themes. In the story, women assume the role as the dominant sex, transforming the world around them accordingly.
“This is both sides and we need to realize this discrimination still happens,” Wynn said. “There’s still a division.”
The title “Bypass to Babylon” is crucial to the story, as it is portrayed in poems throughout the book.
Wynn read “1984” while writing her book and said she’d like to be compared to some of her favorite literary writers, such as Emily Dickenson and Toni Morrison.
Wynn moved to Harrison, Ohio as a sophomore in high school after living in Cincinnati her entire life, writing for basically all of it, she said. “I was always the kid who had 32 pages and the teacher hated me.”
She even had a series entitled “The Mighty Adventures of the Utensil Squad,” consisting of three (note) books.
“I wish I still had them,” Wynn said. “They were good.”
Wynn started on her novel in October of her senior year at William Henry Harrison High School, finishing the first draft in four months. She didn’t start with a novel in mind.
“As corny as it sounds, it just kind of came,” Wynn said.
Wynn said she’d sit down and three hours later think, “Did I just write that?”
Her classmates, particularly an ex-boyfriend, said she would never get it published because that’s so unusual.
“I never meant for it to be published, I did it just to see if I could do it,” Wynn said. “I’m not doing it for the money.”
Some of her friends were more encouraging, like Alex Lonneman and Amy Whalen, whom she met her sophomore year of high school.
“(Lonneman) was my very first reader, idea bouncer, and she is really the reason I finished the thing and got it published to begin with,” Wynn said. “(Whalen) was the editor and my master of critique,” Wynn said, referring to Whalen.
Lonneman and Whalen realized Wynn’s dedication to writing and they understood why she couldn’t go out all the time.
“I was a loser senior year,” Wynn said. “I just stayed home writing.”
Wynn’s friends didn’t think she was; she fit in just fine with them.
“We were all drama nerds,” Lonneman said. “I guess we were all losers.”
With the edits finished and some encouragement from her friends, Wynn decided the book needed a publisher. She looked in the Writer’s Market, and sent query letters to every publication that she thought might carry her novel.
The edits from her friends were so good that PublishAmerica said there was basically nothing for them to do.
On the surface, “Bypass to Babylon” may seem like a feminist book, but Wynn insisted it is neither feminist nor antifeminist. She said it’s about the reversal of the rules and equality through the eyes of a boy growing up in a woman’s world.
Despite these issues, there may be some who don’t agree with the way the book goes about making its message known.
“It’s definitely a piece that might get under people’s skin a bit,” Wynn said.
“Bypass to Babylon” hit bookstores on March 24.
“If she keeps writing and sticks with it, she can be as good as any other writer,” Whalen said.