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December 21, 2010 > Local student is a published author

Local student is a published author

Story and Photos by Miriam G. Mazliach

These days, it seems that authors not only write on a myriad of topics, but they also come in all ages as well. Tiffany Cheung, a bright and loquacious 16-year-old 11th grader at Logan High School in Union City, recently had her first book published, titled Checkmate!

She always enjoyed writing and began her book a few years ago while still in junior high. It only took about six months to complete; then Tiffany asked her English teacher at the time, Miss Noll, to help with the editing.

"Ever since she was eight or nine, I would see Tiffany writing on scraps of paper or in her notebooks and I was always wondering what she was doing," commented Tiffany's mom, Sheena Yin Cheung.

"The idea for the book came about while I was thinking about playing a game of chess and these characters that I had in my head for years began to form a story," says Tiffany. "Ideas were rushing to my head and I thought I should organize them and that it could make a really good book."

Through her words, Tiffany relates her creative vision of a fantastical chess school on the faraway planet Zee. "I started writing chapters and really felt that I had something. There's a more realistic world to chess and soon it was a whole story; so, I began to write it down since I always loved to write about adventures."

She elaborates, "I want readers to step into this world of fantasy and relate to the emotions the characters go through, feel what they do, and learn about the secrets they discover. About mid-point during the writing, when I came up with the title, I felt maybe this [writing a book] is meant to be. I thought about how it would end with a 'chess wars' competition, leaving it as a cliffhanger as to which side wins."

After completion, she was unsure about getting it published. "But, it was always a New Year's resolution of mine to become a published author," adds Tiffany.

A family friend suggested that Tiffany enter a contest from Random House, with the prize being the publication of the winning selection. She sent in her book and patiently awaited their decision. When eight months later, her book wasn't selected, Tiffany and her mom began the arduous process of searching for another publishing house. This led to Dorrance, an established "self-publishing" business, and its subsidiary RoseDog Books that actually printed and released Checkmate! on October 26.

Tiffany says she always knew that she would be a writer, but that she didn't know it could happen at her age. "Maybe, I can give hope to other young people who might not realize that they are able to do this," she stated. "I feel really accomplished and hope to inspire others to do the same."

Currently, Tiffany is working on the second installment of this hoped-for series of books.

"For me, the writing process is hard to put into words. It's a way of expression, a release if I'm bored or happy. It makes me happy now to have other people see my characters come to life when they read my book. This is a dream come true."

Checkmate! can be ordered through or contact the author at

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