IT ALL started with a handwritten note tucked away safely in 15-year-old Alina Bonaventura's dad's coffin.
"Help me to write this story from Heaven," the note said.
The death of her father from a stroke in 1999 forced Miss Bonaventura, now 29, to put aside her passion for creative writing and go out and look for work to support her family, which included her autistic brother.
"I promised my dad I'd keep on writing," she said.
Miss Bonaventura left school halfway through Year 9, but defying the odds, she returned to school in Year 11.
"I went back to school at Bundaberg High and I ended up graduating with very high achievements which wasn't too bad for someone who didn't complete Grade 10," she said.
Her passion to put pen to paper and write a novel never left the aspiring author, but it wasn't until she attended WriteFest at CQUniversity almost 10 years later did she start believing in her abilities again.
"My whole journey with writing and CQUniversity has started with WriteFest 2008," she said.
Having never stepped foot into the university campus before, a new world opened to Miss Bonaventura.
After attending WriteFest, Miss Bonaventura said it gave her the confidence to enroll in a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, from which she will graduate this December.
Miss Bonaventura began working on her urban fantasy novel, Zander, almost four years ago.
"I'm hoping in another two years I will have at least one book done," she said.
The talented writer has also won a scholarship to attend this year's WriteFest, to be held next weekend.
"Dad would love to see where I am now."
"The classes help to refine your art and ability to write."
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