Trinity-Pawling student Francisco Bendezu ’22 and his book Saunter

As a published author at just fifteen years old, Francisco Bendezu already has quite the feather in his cap. His first novel, Saunter, was published earlier this spring — and if you ask the young author, he is only just beginning.

Saunter actually began as a project for The Phoenix (our school newspaper), so I started thinking about it in September of my freshman year,” Bendezu explained. Over the course of the past two years, the project blossomed into a 147-page murder mystery novel. With his sights set on publishing his work, Bendezu made the novel his Winter Project, as he diligently worked to continue developing the story and characters. His faculty advisor, author John Teaford, was the perfect mentor for Bendezu throughout the project.

“Mr. Teaford taught me how to rewrite and edit a manuscript,” Bendezu shared. “More importantly, he really pushed me along with the publishing process for Saunter. My Winter Project became a valuable learning experience on how to self-publish with Amazon — and it really exposed me to the more technical side of writing.”

A fun fact about his newly-published novel: “Part of the influence for the title, Saunter, was all the walking that we do around the T-P campus,” Bendezu explained. “It’s very systematic but it also gives us time to think about how our days are going, especially as we go down to the dining hall for lunch and back up to resume classes.”

So what’s next for this budding author? Bendezu frequently publishes an array of short stories on his website called The Estrian Journal. He also has plans in the works for a longer writing piece, perhaps another novel, that he hopes to work on over the summer. No matter the project, however, Bendezu simply revels in the joy of writing. “My goal for all of my work as a writer is to try to reach people and make their lives just a little bit better than they were before,” he concluded. “The most rewarding thing about writing is the idea that I can say something and the readers will hear what I have to say. I’ve come to realize that writing can be a weapon and a valuable tool — not just an experience. That means a lot to me.”

Bendezu’s novel, Saunter, is available on Amazon, as both an e-book and a paperback.

by Emma Christiantelli