Keri Aeschliman is a nineteen year-old farm gal turned author from rural Ohio. Her first officially published work is a fiction piece titled In Paths of Righteousness. The historical fiction novel is centralized around the misadventures of David Riley; a traditional farm boy of the late 1800s.
Aeschliman’s story began as an assignment during the early years of high school; an 8-10 page short story eventually led to an abundance of ideas and an intricate storyline that continued to snowball until Keri realized she wanted to do more with the story. Composed in a four-year timeframe, she had the opportunity to frequently look back and make adjustments while progressing with the novel, reflecting on her developing style throughout the years she spent writing. Keri noted that rewriting wasn’t heavily needed during the publication process; however, a great amount of editing was deemed necessary.
Keri’s family was incredibly supportive of her decision to formally produce a written piece that would be commercially available to the world; her mother and grandmother diligently read the story “nearly 10-20 times”, Aeschliman laughed. Her father, whom rarely found time to indulge in fictional stories, finished the story cover to cover – only his second in over 25 years. Her brothers, present for the event, were instrumental in helping Keri gain insight for the perspective of the main character.
Aeschliman confessed that she had no intentions on becoming a writer; enjoying her own written story was the primary motive of becoming a young author. The time period of the novel, set in the late 1800s, was both enjoyable and relatable to Keri as she had spent many years working and volunteering at Sauder Village beginning at the early age of 10. Her writing process is described as a combination of traditional long-handed writing, taking a pen and a notebook outside from the noise but also finding time to write and make edits on her computer. When asked about the difficulties of creating a title for the novel and the chapters within, she found that chapter names to be more difficult to name than the title of the book. The title In Paths of Righteousness was inspired by Psalm 23:3 which reads, “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.”
Keri’s publisher, Genesis Publishing Group, differs from traditional publication firms; she explained how she still owns the rights to her story, while Genesis aided in the processes of editing, distribution, and other diminutive details. Keri enthusiastically described the experience of ordering her first print copies, totaling nearly 3,000 books that had to be stored in her bedroom. She has been urged by her brothers to create an audiobook; one audience member in attendance expressed his feelings of audiobooks and their convenience to listen to while performing other tasks, as some may not have time to sit and enjoy reading throughout the day.
Looking ahead, Keri has begun an outline for a sequel to her novel. Though eager to begin the sequel, she also finds time to maintain a personal blog site where she writes about home life, her devotion for Christ, and other misadventures. You can follow Keri on her website, http://www.storiesbykerinicole.blogspot.com
Jake may be reached at