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Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Brittany and Brianna Winner

Brittany and Brianna Winner

Youngsters attending the Orange County Children's Book Festival will have a chance to put themselves in a super hero fantasy at the Orange Coast College event on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30.

Identical twins Brittany and Brianna Winner, 12-year-old authors of the award winning book, "The Strand Prophecy," will introduce their adventure story by inviting children to don costumes and create an action photo with super hero Strand. A special green background screen will be used to drop special effects into each photograph.

The Winner twins will conduct the photo sessions at their double booth located near the book festival Super Hero Stage. Youngsters will receive a copy of their custom photo by email.

The green screen has been a hit with fans of the "Strand Prophecy."

The book, written by the twins and their father, Jeff, won three silver Benjamin Franklin Awards in 2007 for Best Young Adult Fiction, Best First Book Fiction and Best First Book Children's Young Adult Fiction. They adopted the pseudonym, J.B.B. Winner, a combination of their first initials and last name.

"The Strand Prophecy" also garnered a gold IPPY Award for Best Fiction presented by the Independent Publishers Association.

Reading and writing did not come easily for Brittany and Brianna. Born prematurely, the twins struggled with learning disabilities and encountered problems with school assignments, especially reading. Eventually Brittany was diagnosed with dyslexia.

"The girls are great storytellers," explains Jeff, and he encouraged them to use that strength. At age 10, Brittany and Brianna embraced Jeff's suggestion, "Let's write a book!"

The project proved successful for the Winners, who live in Sunny Hills. Teachers at the twins' Laguna Road School reported that the extracurricular writing bolstered their academic progress and also made an impact on their self-confidence.

Brittany and Brianna are the creative engines behind the storytelling. Jeff takes notes and transcribes their stories on the family computer.

"We need all three of us together," Brittany explains. "It's like a puzzle. If someone is missing, we can't do it."

The young authors have quietly built a loyal fan base, and soon will run out of their first edition. Only 100 copies of their hardback remain. A second printing of the soft back version of "The Strand Prophecy" will be in stores in January.

In the meantime, the Winners are writing a second book in the series, and plan to complete at least five volumes. Their hope is that the Strand fantasy tales will rival Harry Potter.

The Winners will join more than 80 authors and exhibitors at the two-day Children's Book Festival. They will appear on the Super Hero Stage at 1:35 p.m. on Sunday to share their experience as writers. Brittany and Brianna will also sing several songs from an album they created as part of the Strand adventure fantasy.