Debut novel from Eastern Mennonite University senior captures high school experience


EMU senior nursing major Ashley Mellinger, of Harleysville, Pennsylvania, holds up a copy of her novel, “Heartache on the Play Stage,” which was published last month.

by Ryan Cornell for Eastern Mennonite University and available here

As part of a writing exercise in her eighth grade English class, Ashley Mellinger penned a letter to her future self.

In it, the 14-year-old girl from Harleysville, Pennsylvania, asked whether her writing project would ever be complete: “Is H.O.T.P.S. finished yet?

Now, Mellinger, 23, an EMU senior a couple months away from earning her nursing degree, can finally answer that question with a resounding “Yes.” Her debut novel, Heartache on the Play Stage (HOTPS), was published on Jan. 23 and is available to purchase at online booksellers. 

“I promised my 14-year-old self that I would get it published one day,” Mellinger said. “I’ve been working on it for eight to nine years, and I promised myself it was going to be worthwhile.”

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