Sophomore writes coming-of-age thriller inspired by college experience

Ellie Myers  

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     College is a place where students go to pursue their passions and discover what they were meant to become. It takes time, perseverance and diligence to accomplish a goal, and sophomore Matthew Gorrell is no exception as he works to become a published novelist.  

     Gorrell is pursuing a Bachelor of Innovation with a focus in digital filmmaking. He says that his experiences writing short stories as a child and crafting screenplays at the Colorado Film School helped him to realize that his true passion is novel writing due to the creative control involved.  

     “There’s a lot more freedom involved with [novel writing], in that you don’t have to have a director changing ‘oh, I like this line better,’ or ‘oh, I like this situation better,’” he said.  

Matthew Gorrell, photo provided by Matthew Gorrell.

     His debut novel in progress, “Wounds for the Innocent,” is described on his website as a “drama, thriller, horror, coming of age” story. It centers on the story of a girl named Diane Walker who struggles to face her fears and create a new community for herself in the wake of losing her mother. 

     The book takes readers on a journey from Diane’s childhood to her early adulthood, which Gorrell hopes will help the book to appeal to the experiences of young adults, particularly those of college age.  

     Gorrell recommends his novel to those who can relate to the rougher aspects of Diane’s life, such as the mourning process, home insecurity and self-actualization, “as well as those who just want a scary tale.” 

     One of the central themes of the story is the search for identity, which Gorrell believes to be an especially important idea for college students to discuss as they lay the groundwork for their futures.  

     “There’s so [much] pressure to find yourself and find that one thing that you want to do for the rest of your life, which is really hard to put on people,” he said. “I hope this novel can relate to people [searching for their identity], as well as help people conquer the fears that come with change.” 

     While one of his few regrets is not spending more time building connections in the English department, Gorrell says that his current UCCS experience has helped him grow as a writer by giving him inspiration for the story.  

     “I really found myself once I found UCCS because over the past year I’ve made friends and had experiences that really inspired this novel in particular,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot and have a lot of information to pull from for my novel.” 

     Gorrell is still working on the novel, but he hopes eventually to either connect with a publishing house or self-publish once it is ready for readers. His eventual goals are to see it in places like Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Google Books.  

     He hopes that “Wounds for the Innocent” will give him his first foray into the world of fiction and establish his writing style. “My goal is just to get my name out there with my first novel, and [show] people what my brand is,” he said. 

     Gorrell’s pursuit of his writing career dream can serve as inspiration to any student who has ideas that they are passionate about but is nervous to begin creating. Whether their ambition is scientific, artistic, or anything in between, they can just take a page out of Gorrell’s book and give it the old college try.  

     More information about “Wounds for the Innocent” can be found at Gorrell’s website.