A CSUN Deaf Studies student, who just published a novel, hosted a presentation about her book at the National Center on Deafness on Friday.
Leah Bornstein, 20, discussed her new book “Once Upon a Sunshine.” It is about three siblings who set out on a journey and meet vampires on their way. The author related many of the events in the book to real life situations she has faced.
Bornstein said she grew up deaf, and often felt she could not relate with her family who are all oral speakers. She said that she felt like she did not fit into their world, so she created her own imaginary world.
“When I was struggling with things in my reality I would deal with it in my book,” Bornstein said.
She came up with the idea to write the book during an RV trip. Bornstein and her cousin noticed a cave in a mountain and started imagining different ideas about who might live there.
“I started playing around with it, like a diary.” Bornstein said. “I wanted to take the people I knew, hide their names, and develop their character.”
The characters in her book represent close people in Bornstein’s life such as friends, family members and teachers. The main character, Bobbi, represents Bornstein herself.
“I didn’t have a goal. I thought I was writing for me and not for anyone else.” Bornstein said.
She said that she is thankful and shocked with all the support she has received from friends, family, and from people who attended the event.
Amy Hollis, 20, traveled from Bakersfield to see her high school friend speak about the book she published.
“I think it is absolutely amazing that it is our third year out of high school and she wrote a novel.” Hollis said.
“It is not your typical vampire book. It’s got a twist to it,” Hollis said. “I think it is better than ‘Twilight.’”
Hansol Suh, 18, Deaf Studies major, said that what Bornstein is doing is inspiring, and she will motivate other students to pursue what they want to practice.
“She has been working really hard and I knew she always wanted to publish a book,” Suh said.
Bornstein started writing her novel when she was fifteen years old, and it took her five years to finish writing and publishing it.
Bornstein read passages from her book, and explained certain situations in the book and how it related to her. The vampires in the book represent people who are not readily understood by society. Bobbi, the main character of the book is scared of vampires, but quickly learns they are not frightening.
Bornstein has always been an advocate for people to not judge a book by its cover.
Bornstein said that there was a moment in the book where the vampires were free from their cave. She said that it was parallel to her life when she moved away to college to live at the dorms.
Kayla LaBruno, 19, Zoology major, met Bornstein at the dorms on campus. She said it is great that Bornstein published the book that she was working on for years.
“I believe she will inspire deaf people that they can do anything if they set their mind to it.” LaBruno said.
Bornstein said that she would not stop writing, because writing is her passion. She plans to write another book, which will be a series to her first book. “I won’t stop writing. It is like my diary,” Bornstein said.