Kaycee Hughes, of Bernie, Mo., will be able to hold her own published literature in her hands long before she can even touch her diploma from Southeast Missouri State University. What most talented writers work towards for years, Kaycee accomplished before she has even graduatedᾰa publishing contract with PublishAmerica, LLLP for her collection of poetry, a book entitled “Why I Never Sleep.”
Kaycee began writing poetry when she was just 9 years old. She said with age she delved into stronger, more personal topics and themes including death, loss, love and self-discovery. The poetry in her book is based mostly on personal experiences and written in first-person, which gives it a more intimate voice.
“It is a collection of over 60 of my original pieces, including a piece ‘Why I Never Sleep,’ which is where the title for the book came from. The collection is a tightened selection focusing mostly on tragic love, loss and death,” Kaycee said.
No newbie to published works, Kaycee has had her poetry featured in other publications in the past after submitting to and winning poetry contests. Realizing her talent might have even more potential, she decided to compile a manuscript of her best work and began sending it out to publishing companies about a year ago. In fall 2010, Kaycee received the call she was waiting and hoping for: an offer for a seven-year contract with PublishAmerica.
“My first thoughts were ‘Is this a joke? I think I'm being punk'd.’ But I very quickly went from disbelief to excitement, and I just felt really thankful and really accomplished,” Kaycee said of her reaction to the news. “It feels really wonderful to know that someone saw potential in my passion and decided to give it a chance. I always figured I'd have to pay to get my first book published just to see my writing in print. I never dreamed it'd be the other way around.”
With the print release of “Why I Never Sleep” coming soon, Kaycee is looking forward to participating in some of the promotion, including book signings. As a theatre major at Southeast, juggling her class course load, her job at Target and her duties with the wardrobe and tech crews for theatre will be no cakewalk, but Kaycee’s prior dedication to her activities has proved she can handle it.
“I don't have a lot of free time. I am a full-time student, and I work at Target when I'm not at school. But when I do get free time, I love acting, singing, dance, music, sketching and reading. Outside of writing, though, my favorite hobby would probably be researching movies and watching movies. I'm a huge movie buff,” Kaycee says.
Kaycee knew sending her manuscript out was a gamble, but in the end, it turned out to be more than rewarding. Through this experience she learned something invaluable that she shares with all Southeast students: “Pursue your passion, because when it comes down to it, the best you can get out of life is loving what you do and who you are. Explore your options, find what really makes your heart race, and go with it. It's not always about what will earn you the most money. It's about finding what is going to allow you to finish each day feeling accomplished, proud, and happy.”