Words of wonder

The cover of "Three Sisters", local author Nikki Lewen's first novel. — Contributed

Local high school teacher releases first novel

WATSONVILLE—For years, Watsonville High School P.E. teacher and coach Nikki Lewen wrote only for herself and those closest to her. Not many of her students, colleagues or friends knew of her other passion—that is, until last week when she released her very first novel.

“I didn’t really tell anyone until it was already done,” she laughed. “It was just the right time.”

“Three Sisters: A Tale of Survival” is the first installment of a trilogy of novels by Lewen. It follows the story of Sadie Larkin, a young woman who has survived a global natural catastrophe and taken refuge in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After reuniting with someone from her past, Larkin discovers she is in a position to make a difference in her new world.

According to Lewen, “Three Sisters” has been completed for quite a while. Its follow-up (“Return to Three Sisters”) is also mostly finished. After a long struggle to find the right publisher, Lewen was finally able to release the first book and continue moving forward.

“And now the third book is just pouring out of me,” Lewen said.

That finale, “Destiny,” is slated to be release in the Fall of 2020.

A while ago, Lewen and her husband semi-retired from their teaching positions and took some time to travel. Lewen journaled her experiences, attempting to capture the feel of her travels.

“I met so many interesting people with their own unique stories,” Lewen said. “And when I shared my own ideas, people were like ‘You should write that down!’”

A major theme permeating “Three Sisters” is human beings’ affect on the natural environment. Lewen said the story truly is about heeding the global warming threat. When we first meet Sadie Larkin, she is stranded on an island where Northern California used to be.

“It’s obviously a major issue for our world right now,” Lewen stated. “It’s on all of our minds.”

As for the character of Sadie, Lewen hopes the character’s heroic actions and compassion for others will move readers.

“I think a lot of women especially will like her and be inspired by her incredible story,” she said.

“Three Sisters” is now available on Amazon. Lewen said she was floored that about 100 digital copies of the novel were downloaded in the first day, a feat that she credits heavily to a supportive community at Watsonville High School.

“I am so thankful for everyone—teachers, students, friends,” Lewen said. “It’s been incredible.”

Last Wednesday Lewen was invited to visit a local classroom to speak about her book and her writing process. She said the experience was unique and something she’d love to do again in the future if other teachers were interested.

“I’m just so excited to see young people interested in reading again,” she said.


“Three Sisters: A Tale of Survival” is now available to order on Amazon. Author Nikki Lewen asks readers to leave a review of the book on the page if they can. To contact Lewen about classroom appearances email her at [email protected]