Riverbend Teacher’s Novel is Divine


Riverbend’s new creative writing teacher also happens to be a published author.  Ms. Russell is from Orwell, Pennsylvania and graduated from Albright College.

Ms. Russell described the publishing experience as “a learning process.”  Her novel, Divine,follows clairvoyant Thea Kostas as she abandons her title as heiress of a multimillion dollar corporation and becomes a refugee on the run from her own father. Multiple character perspectives shroud the narrative in mystery as different stories intertwine to climax in a thrilling final combat and a twist resolution.

Ms. Russell began the manuscript for Divine as a senior in high school and completed it as a freshman in college. The story was inspired by a series of dreams that were coming true, and was compiled over time in a notebook that the author carried everywhere.

The title arose spontaneously from a conversation with a friend: “I had written everything and had no idea what to make the title. I was telling [this] to a friend, and said, ‘Now if I could just come up with a title, that would be divine.’”

Ms. Russell said she is “very intuitive,” which is part of what led her to become a teacher. But this talent also served as an inspiration for Thea’s psychic abilities. In Greek mythology, Thea is the goddess of sight, and many other character names have the same origin. For instance, “Demos” is Greek for “of the people.”

Ms. Russell recently finished another manuscript this past August. Readers can look forward to a young adult dystopian novel, in the same vein as Divergent or The Hunger Games. In the meantime, copies of Divine are available in the Riverbend library.