Young novelist Lily Nilipour publishes second book

Torrey Pines High School senior Lily Nilipour has released her second novel, “An Echo over the Trees,” a thoughtful collection of stories.

Lily Nilipour
Lily Nilipour (Karen Billing)

“Movement is distracting, it twirls and spirals and comes and goes. It jumps around and never stays in the same place, It blossoms with joy and slices with a knife,” writes Lily in the synopsis of the book. “These are the stories of people and their movement. They are ordinary but they traverse timelines and dimension with ease and just like movement, as soon as you lose track of them, you will miss something.”

Like her first book, “Don’t Mistake the Ashes for Dust,” that Lily published in 2014, this book was spurred on by National Novel Writing Month. In the month of November, authors are encouraged to pen 50,000 words. The “NaNoWriMo” program helps students with support from fellow writers and develops a way to track their progress, create a schedule for work and earn personal achievement badges.

While Lily wrote her first 50,000-word novel in one month, this second effort was completed over the course of two busy years, building on the work she started in November 2014. She took breaks between Novembers and spent a lot of time writing over spring breaks and throughout the summer. The result was some 90,000 words and the new 250-page novel.

“This book is a little different than the first book. There’s no supernatural elements or fantasy and instead of one long story, it’s nine shorter stories with recurring characters,” Lily said.

Of the nine stories in the book, one of her favorites is “So Much Gray So Much Gray.” In it a bus driver meets a kid and they go on an adventure. She is also proud of “Walk on Water, II , Toes,” a backstory to an earlier story in the book, telling the tale about a girl and her treehouse.

“I really enjoyed writing them all,” Lily said. “There might not be more writing to come because I’m working on college applications. It took awhile to write and re-write and edit this book. It was a big working project I had in mind…after that I don’t have any creative inspiration that’s new!”

While she may be taking a break from novels, Lily is still writing — she is the sports editor and co-news editor of the student newspaper, “The Falconer,” and has a job writing for Prep2Prep, a website that allows high school students to explore a career in sports journalism, reporting on local athletes and being mentored by professional journalists. She also competes on the varsity tennis team.

Lily hopes to study English or history in college and while she does not know yet where her journey will take her next, she knows creative writing will always be a part of her story.

“An Echo over the Trees” is available on November and 2016’s National Novel Writing Month is just a few weeks away. Aspiring novelists can find out more at