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Student achieves dream through book publication

Zadith Santiago

Established writers sometimes advise aspiring authors to write what they know. For Zadith Santiago, that advice has paid off greatly.

The Seminole State student drew largely from personal experience in her writing, and she published her first novel, “Never Too Late to Love,” late last year.

“It’s a work of fiction, but it’s partially based on my life,” she explains. Santiago, 43, had been a long time out of love and, feeling disheartened, began writing the book to help lift her spirits. “I didn’t have that kind of love in my life for a long time, and I had almost stopped believing, but I decided I shouldn’t let age or anything else discourage me.”

And it turns out she was right not to worry: After 13 years as a single mother of three, and within months of publishing “Never Too Late to Love,” she met the man she would marry.

But the book is more than an affirmation of her philosophy on love: It’s the realization of a dream she has had for as long as she can remember.

“All my life, I have always loved writing,” she said. “As a kid, I was always writing stories, and so I eventually decided, why not try writing a book?”

So she began work on the novel. All told, the book took her about a year to write, and then spent another half-year or so in the editing and production process.

A native of Puerto Rico who grew up exclusively speaking Spanish, Santiago moved to New York City when she was 16 years old. There, she picked up English by ear from friends, neighbors and classmates. While she worked as a model and pursued her interest in dancing, she kept her dream of writing a novel in mind.

After spending much of her young adult life in New York and another decade in Georgia, Santiago moved with her children to Central Florida, where she has lived in Sanford for the past seven years. Her sons, 25 and 23, are both in the United States Army, one serving as a sergeant and the other named a Ranger on Aug. 28. Her daughter, a Seminole State graduate, is working as a teacher.

“I love my family, and they make me so proud,” she says. “They are part of my inspiration.”

After she finished writing “Never Too Late to Love,” Santiago approached six publishers to get the book printed and distributed. They all accepted her submission. She decided to publish her book through Tate Publishing, a Christian company that she says shares her values and offered her good options on marketing and distribution.

“They helped me out in every way,” she says. “They helped with editing, cover design and marketing. They work hard to promote new authors in a very positive way, and that’s exactly what I was looking for with my book.”

Santiago enrolled in the Nursing Program at Seminole State last year, hoping to help others with her caring and nurturing disposition. But even still, she plans to keep up writing on the side. In fact, she is working on two books right now. It’s one of her passions, and she hopes never to quit.

“If you have a passion for writing, or for anything, never give up,” she says. “Keep trying. Keep up that dream. It’s so easy to be inspired, but it’s also very easy to give up and quit. Don’t stop pursuing that dream.”

To learn more about “Never Too Late to Love,” or to purchase a copy, check out the Tate Publishing website or go to the Amazon.com listing. And to learn more about Santiago, including information on upcoming publicity events for her book, visit her website.

About Student of the Month: Seminole State’s Communications Office selects a Student of the Month based on academic achievement, campus or community involvement, and/or outstanding character. Students are featured in the Newsroom and on Seminole State’s official Facebook page. Send nominations for Student of the Month to news@seminolestate.edu (include Student of the Month in the subject line).

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