Petaluma Profile: Teen author Josie Campbell takes on the universe

Josie Campbell was in second grade when she began writing the story that eventually grew into her book called? “The Thunderions: Evil’s Rise.” Pronounced “Thunder-in-yuns,” these are the occasionally visible and often audible imaginary friends attached to Glory and her high school mates, Forest, Misty, Ray and Phoenix, as they grow up in Hawaii.

“I worked on this for three years,” Josie says, “and when I reread it, I realized I didn’t have a plot, and although I had a perfectly clear idea of what things looked like, the reader didn’t. So I got help from my teachers.” She quickly interjects, “River Montessori is the best school ever!” then adds, “I ended up rewriting the first stories. I call them chapters now, because after I started messing around and printed it out, we realized it was the start of a novel. Actually, the start of a six-book series.”

The first of these books is already in print and now available online and at the downtown Petaluma Copperfield’s Book Store. As is easy to tell, Josie loves to talk in superlatives and she gives glowing credit to her 15-year-old Brooklyn-based cousin Katerina Gerakaris for the cover art of her book.

“She’s such a good artist,” Josie says. “She captured the exactly-correct image of Diamond, Glory’s wolf-shaped Thunderinion.”

Josie is reflective when she talks about the characters in her novel.

“High school kids are usually moody and depressed,” she notes, “but these guys aren’t. They have childish personalities and will hold on to being a kid as long as they can. I love these guys, and would take a bullet for them. Glory is a lot like me … sarcastic and humorous. But my favorite character is Ray, because he recklessly jumps into everything.”

Josie and her family live in the country in a 1924 farmhouse.

“We share the place with raccoons and possums,” she says. “Inside I have a ball python called Boba who lives in a terrarium and eats live mice.”

Josie takes a sip of coffee and changes direction.

“I really like coffee,” she affirms. “I want to open a coffee shop someday and have my own signature blends like mint and lavender and rose. I had a dream about where I want to live. The house has a red door. I just had to learn more about this house. Two days later, I found the Keller Court Commons. A pocket neighborhood with rainbow mailboxes and rainbow doors. I want to talk to the developer to see how I can buy that particular house.”

Josie estimates she has already sold over 200 copies of her book.

“Since it’s a book for preteens, that’s a great number,” she allows. “I might even get a chance to turn the story into a movie or something. And I have other books to write as well - one about time travel and a horror story.”

It’s obvious we should all stay tuned for Josie Campbell’s next adventure.

(Contact Gil Mansergh at

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