Student Author Jaclin Tirla Finds an Ace Up Her Sleeve With New Book Publishing


Photo courtesy of Jaclin Tirla and graphic by Tyler Kim

Despite senior Jaclin Tirla’s large online presence with over 12 million views, not many people in her real life are aware of her digital fame. “I was proud of myself because I’ve never accomplished something so big,” Tirla said. “I told my mom, and she was shocked too because she didn’t even know I wrote books.”

By Tyler Kim and Tara Vatandoust

On-demand writing. These three words conjure waves of dread for some high school students. But for now-published author and senior Jaclin Tirla, writing is more akin to her second home.

While Tirla’s work is currently popular on the online social reading platform Wattpad, Tirla revealed that her interest in writing first sparked during her freshman year. After her English teacher recommended the romance novel “Until Friday Night” by Abbi Glines, Tirla found inspiration to write her own stories.

“I got so many ideas for a book, and I wanted to tell some author to write it, but I am super picky about how I like things done,” Tirla said. “So I said, ‘You know what, I am going to try writing it myself.’”

As Tirla’s novels gained traction on Wattpad, she noticed that one story appeared to garner more attention than others. That story was a mafia romance titled “Ace de Luca,” and Tirla decided to shift her focus to publishing after it surpassed 10 million views.

“It really makes me happy for her; I see that she is accomplishing her goals,” Tirla’s close friend and senior Krista Calkins said. “She has a lot of inspirational people that help her through it.”

Tirla published her first physical book, “Ace de Luca,” on Amazon on Feb. 23.

The novel follows the journey of American mafia member Aria White as she infiltrates Ace de Luca’s Italian mafia, only to fall in love with him.

“[Aria] ends up falling in love, but she has a very traumatic past with her ex-boyfriend because they had a very abusive and toxic relationship,” Tirla said. “And I really wanted to put that in there for her character, because you see her as such a strong girl, but when it comes to her ex, she is super, ‘We can not stand him,’ so I wanted to show how much a past abusive relationship really affects a person.”

Tirla found collaborators as she pursued the publishing process. With Instagram and the recommendation of her English teacher, Tirla was able to find both a cover designer and an editor.

Tirla’s typical writing process often involves her jotting down plot beats and inspiration during the day, returning home at night to turn her ideas into a full-length outline.

“When we hang out, she will see something, and she will write in her notes,” Calkins said. “She is always writing in her notes, and teachers have brought up ideas. In class, the teacher will talk about something, and that pops an idea in her head.”

Tirla began using her newfound prominence in the blogosphere by using it as a platform to spread awareness.

“In each book I write, I always put an author’s note with mental illnesses that characters experience because I want to bring awareness to mental health, because that’s super important to me,” Tirla said. “Because I have such a high following on the Wattpad app, I always do my best to make sure people who are following me know that they are heard and that if they need help, there are people out there.”

As Tirla’s view count went up, so did the comments on her story. While some were more critical than others, Tirla said that focusing on the positive has motivated her.

“My favorite comments are the ones telling me that my book has changed their life because I never knew I could change a person’s life by writing a book,” Tirla said. “Those are honestly the best comments.”

This story was originally published on Portola Pilot on February 25, 2022.