One turned into two, two into three and a trilogy was born.
In 2012, Nicole began a quest to have her books published. She went online and researched process, and, on her own, she submitted a book query. A week later, much to her delight, she received a reply.
Tate Publishing and Enterprises was interested in her story and wanted to read her manuscript.
Nicole, now 16, just finished her sophomore year at Bountiful High School. She was a student at Millcreek Junior high when her book Infected was published. The book that Nicole describes as "a science fiction thriller with some romantic overtones" tells the story of a handful of people who are frozen in time and saved for a later date, when the Infected may have taken over and humanity will have to be restored. Main character Jo and her fellow companions awaken to a world completely different from the one they have known and are forced to fight to survive.
Nicole, who lives with her three younger brothers and parents in Woods Cross, was surprised when her book was accepted for publication.
"I've only met one other teen author," Nicole said. Tate publishing accepts less than 4% of the submissions it receives.
Since publication, Nicole, who is a full-time student who sings in the choir, performs in school plays and works part-time at Little Caesars' in Bountiful, has had to make time for book signings. "It's really nerve-wracking but rewarding to do book signings at 16," she said.
When she received the initial acceptance of her manuscript, Nicole said both she and her mom cried. "My parents were really happy and impressed," Nicole said.
Sandy Trump, Nicole's mother, knew nothing about the publishing process and said she in awe of what Nicole accomplished at such a young age. As Nicole completed each chapter of her book, she would read them to her mother, who was "blown away" by how good it was.
"She's very creative. I wish my mind worked like hers. She's always got something going on in there. I keep telling her to reach for the stars, and she keeps doing it," Trump said.
Being published has changed some aspects of Nicole's life. Her mother said it has given her more confidence and is something she can be proud of.
Traci Nix, Tate Publishing marketing representative, said Nicole is one of their youngest authors. Most teen authors are 17 or 18 years old. Nix said books are chosen on their marketability.
"The book has done pretty well. It's a tough industry, and it takes years for a first time author to build up a following."
After graduation from high school, Nicole plans to attend college and major in psychology with a minor in English literature.