Cary teen aims for YA audience with first novel

New titles from Triangle-area authors.
New titles from Triangle-area authors.

At 18 years old and fresh out of high school, Ruthanna Witter is already a published author. She took a gap year before college to complete “How to Break a Paradox” (Carpenter’s Son Publishing), which was released last month. Witter, who lives in Cary, began writing the young adult suspense novel when she was 16.

“I started writing on May 11, 2015, just for fun, with no inkling that it would grow beyond a couple of pages, let alone become a published book,” Witter says. She signed with her publisher in March of last year and spent the next few months working with a professional editor to refine her writing.

In “How to Break a Paradox,” Amber Gibson works as an undercover hacker for the FBI, living life from one daring encounter to the next. But when her world is turned upside down, she is forced to live with one foot in reality and one in the cyber realm.

Witter says she was intentional in selecting the tone of her work. “I wanted to weave suspense, to capture the reader’s attention, but I wanted to capture something else, too. I wanted to bottle up the sunshine in the air so thick you could breathe it in, the feeling of a cloudless, crystal blue, summer afternoon; a bright, clear breeze playing in the wisps of your hair. I wanted a feeling of freedom, lightheartedness. I wanted to make my readers laugh.

“Then there is computer side of things. I’m afraid that all my research of hacking and terrorism and cyber warfare will bring the FBI knocking. Thankfully, they haven’t shown up. Yet.”

Witter, who was homeschooled through high school, plans to attend Wake Technical Community College in the fall before transferring to a larger university.

New titles

A tormented priest has enemies in his congregation and trusts no one in “Lustration Rites” (Resource Publications) by David L. Carter, a lifelong Raleigh resident. “Lustration Rites” is Carter’s second book.

“Loose Ends” (Moonshine Cove Publishing) is Caroline Taylor’s most recent thriller. Set in Washington, D.C., Carson Mahoney escapes a home invasion that destroys her house. When her sister kills a commune leader, both sisters are forced to flee while seeking justice. Taylor, the author of several books and short stories, lives in Pittsboro.

Short stories

“Mountain Mysteries” (Outskirts Press) by James W. Dean is a collection of short stories that takes place in and around the Appalachian Mountains. “These stories, for the most part, are stories that my family told to me as I was growing up,” Dean says, who lives in Lucama, in Wilson County. “The book came about because my three daughters and my granddaughters had been telling me to write down the stories so they could have them for their children and grandchildren. So I started writing them and next thing I knew, I was writing the book that I had always wanted to write.”

Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.