Angela Young's piece, called 'Nail Biter,' was published on May 9, 2017.
Angela Young grew up performing dramatic readings of "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul" in speech competitions. Now — as a 31-year-old — the Palm Coast resident can open up a copy of “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Military Families: 101 Stories about the Force Behind the Forces” and see her own name on page 172.
After marrying U.S. Marine Sgt. Trevor Young in 2010, Angela volunteered for the Enlisted Spouses' Club while living on the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, in North Carolina.
It was there that she met the same-sex military couple who would later become the subject of her short story, published in "Chicken Soup" on May 9, 2017.
No spoiler here, but the tale is not the typical military story of a teary deployment or joyful homecoming.
Angela set the scene for the true story by describing herself wrapping up gifts as part of a fundraiser with the Enlisted Spouses' Club in December 2014. It was then that she noticed a young man — one half of the couple she'd later write about — nervously biting his nails and walking around, as if debating whether to approach her to talk. Angela invited him into conversation with a big grin and helpful tone. Soon the second half of the couple felt welcomed to join, and the trio talked into the night.
While that meeting happened after the 2011 repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy barring gay people from serving openly in the U.S. military, many people still would not have been accepting of a gay military couple, she said.
"I remember I left, and I got in my car and called my brother and said, 'Thank God I was the one working at the table that night,'" Angela said.
Angela has been journaling since seventh grade. When she saw a post in a writer’s group on Facebook about where to get short pieces published, she knew she had to go for it.
Though Angela had many stories to consider for submission, she sent in just two: one about the day her husband was deployed to Afghanistan, and "Nail Biter," the one that was ultimately published.
"People have been asking, 'Where can I see more of your work?' Well, you can’t; it’s all in my private journals at home,'" Angela said, chuckling.
"Nail Biter" is Angela's first published story and the first she's done for pay, and she has plans to explore more publishing options in the future.
Those interested in reading Angela's story can check out the copy she donated to the Flagler County Public Library, or find it online on Amazon.com.