Newton resident Melissa Koons recently published "A Small Collection of Poems, Short Stories and Essays," a book made up of her own writings.

"It's an amazing feeling," Koons said.

Born to Baptist missionary parents in Hong Kong, Koons said writing is something she has enjoyed since she was 5 years old.

"I wrote my first essay on Christmas and I got an A-plus on it," Koons said, "Through all my years ... I've been a writer."

Koons' next major work, which was completed at the age of 9, was a script for a play based on the story of Moses.

She moved around to England, Holland and California before coming to Newton in 1992.

"I've traveled everywhere," Koons laughed.

Koons is a graduate of Halstead High School. She has studied with the Institute of Children's Literature and the Writer's Digest School and has had several poems and an article published.

She has also spent time volunteering at Newton Public Library, Halstead Public Library and in the library at Bethel College, all with the aim of spending more time around books.

"That inspired me," Koons said.

Her new book includes a short mystery story, along with poems and essays that speak about her impressions of the California coastline — from watching whales swim in the ocean to the lighthouses that dot the shores.

Koons dedicated the book to her family, who aided her in getting the book ready for publication.

"It took four of us — my brother, mom, dad and me — to edit the work," Koons said.

Despite their best efforts, Koons admitted "A Small Collection of Poems, Short Stories and Essays" is not perfect.

"There's one typo error I found," Koons said. " ... It's an inside joke now."

"A Small Collection of Poems, Short Stories and Essays" is available at Newton Public Library.