by Gabby Urenda of Pamplin Media Group - Hillsboro Theresa Verboort won the WILLA Literary Award for Best Young Adult fiction in 2019.
For most people, taking 15 years to write a book may seem like a marathon, but for Hillsboro author Theresa Verboort, it was worth the wait.
Last year, Verboort won the WILLA Literary Award for the Best Young Adult Fiction of 2019 written by a Western woman for her book "The Communing Tree." The award was presented at the Women Writing the West Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
"I gave my little acceptance talk… (and) I had a couple of people come up and tell me they were inspired by the fact that I'm so old and managed to pull this off," said Verboort.
"You have to be persistent, and you have to get advice from people who know about writing," Verboort explained.
Verboort's novel tells the story of 16-year-old Judith and her family, who live in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness of southwestern Oregon in 1979, convinced that the end times are coming. Her father is a Vietnam veteran who is living with post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from war.
When tragedy strikes, Judith and her little sister, Kali, escape their family's killers, joining their grandmother at the family home. Once the grandmother passes, the girls have to live alone in the wilderness, fearful of being discovered.