Young Author Publishes Her First Novel

by Michaela O’Donnell ’13
Senior Alyssa Lesho smiles, holding a copy of her new novel, “The Junior Intelligence Agency: Book 1.” photo by Holly Cuozzo ’12.

 Since the seventh grade, senior Alyssa Lesho has enjoyed the art of writing. She discovered her commitment early on, writing two amateur novels. Just this year, Lesho has copyrighted and self-published her new book “The Junior Intelligence Agency: Book 1.” Part of Lesho’s motivation was the numerous juvenile novels hoarding bookshelves.

“After being scarred by the ‘Twilight series,’ I wanted something less YA [young adult] and more mature,” said Lesho.

Lesho’s novel, which has a mature “Spy Kids” feel mixed in with some romance and surprisingly descriptive and detailed action sequences, is about a teenager, Alex, who is part of The Junior Intelligence Agency. The agency takes in orphaned children and provides them a home as well as trains them to save the world. The plot consists of Alex, her best friend and accomplice, Skylar, and a tall, dark and handsome new acquaintance, Blake. Together, they travel around the world to secret islands and creepy laboratories, outwit the mentally insane “director” and become better friends along the way.

The whole process of writing The Junior Intelligence Agency took Lesho around three years in total, but although the process seems long and frustrating, Lesho is encouraging and sets an example to aspiring young writers.

“There is absolutely no reason people can’t be writers, but it is the determination and persistence that sets apart the authors,” said Lesho.

Some of Lesho’s inspirations were teachers, the experience of changing schools and traveling, and most importantly, music. One song in particular, “Surrender” by Angel and Airwaves is a major inspiration for Lesho’s tone in her book. It was such an inspiration to Lesho that it is alluded to in the last chapter of the book.

Lesho whole-heartedly agrees that she has progressed and improved as a writer since first starting on the novel. She has made constant adjustments and has even fully re-written chapters. Lesho also has taken writing classes at Sherwood and even Columbia University in the summer of 2010, which have been a huge help. Those along with the help of her parents, the main supporters and editors of her book, created an all-around solid foundation to start a book.

“I got to talk with some amazing people and professors that encouraged me to branch out with my writing. The experience of being in NYC also sparked endless inspiration. The classes were incredible and I was introduced to so many poets, novelists, and other writers that show me what kind of writer I want to be”

By this summer, Lesho hopes to have book 2 of the soon-to-be trilogy published. In the future, Lesho wishes to study computer science in college, but looks forward to making writing a hobby that she sticks with.

Her novel is available at, and the iBookstore. It will soon be available for Nook e-readers electronically and for physical copies.