'The Siren's Call' garners national award for Woodburn teen
A timber-shivering tale of merciless pirates and malevolent mermaids won Woodburn resident and Baker Web Academy senior Gabrielle Lussier a national award for fiction writing in March.
Lussier's short story "The Siren's Call" won Silver Medal in Science Fiction/Fantasy in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, an annual award presented by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. The awards have been presented to young artists since 1923. In 2018 nearly 350,000 works of visual art and writing were submitted.
Lussier kept the awards entry a secret from her family until she found out she had passed the first round in January, netting three Gold Keys and three Honorable Mentions. Then in March she found out her story had won silver in the national competition.
"I might have screamed several times," Lussier said.
Lussier lives in Woodburn with her Mom, Michelle Kohler, her uncle, grandmother, three cats and a dog. Kohler says that Lussier has been creative and artistic for as long as she can remember.
"(When she was a child) I knew I had my hands full because I would have to challenger her," Kohler said.
Lussier didn't want to learn to write at first as a kid, Kohler said, but when she did it was a natural fit, and she started filling up notebook after notebook with stories.
"She always makes me read them," Kohler said.
"More like I force her to read them," Lussier said.
Lussier said her interests lie in music and anything crafty. She makes costumes inspired by movie characters and books, works on short stories and a long running novel idea, and learns to play covers of pop songs on piano.
Her short story, "The Siren's Call," was inspired by reading pirate novels and watching "Pirates of the Caribbean," and a love of fantasy fiction.
"I've always loved mermaids, and I've always loved swimming too, so it kind of fits together," Lussier said.
"The Siren's Call" is told in colloquial sailor's lingo from the first person perspective of a pirate, who desperately fights off an attack by mermaids determined to drag down the rest of his crew. It ends with a gender bending twist.
"I've always wondered why having a woman on the ship was considered bad luck, so instead of researching and finding the more logical reason, I decided to create my own reason behind that," Lussier said.
Lussier plans to take a year off to travel after high school, then attend college at George Fox University. She isn't sure what she wants to study, but writing is at the top of her list, followed by theater, photography, music and dance.