With The College Chronicles: Freshman Milestones, local author Kelly Owen’s gives going “back to school” a whole new meaning and literary genre. This week West Ashley-based publisher Boxer Publishing is releasing Owen’s book, the first of four novels in the series, which will also feature sophomore, junior, and senior editions.
With the Holy City serving as an historic and scenic backdrop, the first novel in The College Chronicles series explores college life in its truest form, portraying a student lifestyle in which the subjects of study range from sex and sociology to beer and biology. Divided into chapters named after college courses, the novel chronicles freshman Cadence Cooper’s journey at the fictional Charlestowne College and incorporates much of Owen’s experiences as a student and even more as a college instructor.
The College Chronicles takes readers on a journey encompassing life’s lessons with Charleston serving as a living classroom,” says Owen. “Whether you are an incoming freshman, a rising junior or approaching the 20th anniversary of your graduation, the tales will seem familiar and engaging.”
For nearly two decades, Owen has shared her knowledge of literature and passion for writing with thousands at Georgetown High School, James Island High School, Trident Technical College, City Colleges of Chicago, The Citadel, Columbia College of Missouri, and College of Charleston.
Born in Georgetown, Owen received a bachelor’s in English from the University of South Carolina, where she worked as a photographer for The Gamecock newspaper. She received her master’s in English from the University of Charleston and was on the road to getting a doctorate when fate intervened in the shape of hand graffiti.
On the morning of March 6, 2009, The College Chronicles came to Owen via the back of a student’s hand. Stressed about the in-class essay in which Owen had instructed students to write on every other line in their compositions, a young woman in the front row had scrawled “SKIP LINES” in black pen on her left hand, underlining a number of times. As she leaned her head on her hand and began to answer the questions, Owen stared at those two words.
“Suddenly, I heard a voice in my head saying ‘Who the hell does she think she is asking us to remember to skip lines? Is that really important?’ But the voice wasn’t mine; it was my imagination projecting the voice of this student,” said Owen. “As if by instinct, I grabbed a blank sheet of paper and after a short time, one entire side was filled with lines chronicling a series about college,” says Owen. Hours later, the story was racing out of her head and onto the paper. “When I got home, I opened a long-unused leather journal and wrote what will become one of the most memorable scenes in the series, but it won’t be reached until the final book.”
At 20 chapters, 572 pages and over 155,000 words, the book’s length borders on epic territory, but has left advance readers craving more. While considered “New Adult” fiction, which is typically marketed to readers who are in the18-30 age bracket, The College Chronicles: Freshman Milestones delves beyond the romance-filled narratives that characterize this burgeoning genre of publishing. Its storylines will also appeal to American’s 60 million college graduates and those 22 million students currently enrolled in higher education courses.
The College Chronicles: Freshman Milestones goes on sale on Aug. 18 in paperback ($18.99) and in all e-book formats ($5.99). The book can be purchased through www.TheCollegeChronicles.com and through all major e-book retailers.

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