NYACK, N.Y. -- Nyack author Stephanie Dolce felt her calling as a writer would be chronicling achievements of ice hockey teams and players. Circumstances and life intervened to take her in a far different direction.
Dolce released her sixth book last month. “Untouched” is her latest in a series that explores bullying, especially through social media, relationships and online dating. It is her first fiction work, and is based on the series she created revolving around the relationship struggles of a high school girl, Kellie Harrison. Dolce introduced Harrison in a prior book, “My Tiara Is Giving Me A Headache.”
“The story goes back to the beginning where she is bullied in social media,’’ Dolce said. “It tells teens how much bullying can hurt. It goes into her learning who she is, what she values, relationships, boys and all the things girls go through in high school.”
Dolce said the message in “Untouched” is to help teach people about the positive and negative uses of social media. “Social media should impact people positively, not negatively,’’ Dolce said. “Girls should not be a carbon copy of somebody else. The best person is to be yourself and to stand out from the crowd.”
Dolce has spent most of her professional career working in public relations and social media marketing, making her an expert on the subject. She also experienced her own bullying trauma five years ago by a man whom she wanted to date. She wrote two book abouts relationships, social media and online dating that address how people should handle cyber bullying.
“It turned out to be this whole saga,’’ Dolce said. “People tweeting this really nasty stuff. I deleted my Twitter account, that’s how bad it got. It helped me understand what teenagers go through when they are cyber bullied, but they go through it in a much different way.”
As an adult, Dolce developed a different perspective on cyber bullying than teenagers. But she could see also see the harm that it can create for young woman sorting out a myriad of complex emotions while also experiencing significant physiological changes.
“Cyber bullying affects teens in a different way,’’ she said. “They think their life is over. They take harsh measures, like suicide or drug abuse. Many of them suffer from depression. I wanted to show that you don’t have to give into them. I could feel what they’re feeling. It’s confusing, but not everybody can see it. It’s not like a fight in the schoolyard where everybody can watch.”
Dolce’s writing career has spanned several decades. “I’ve loved writing since I was in fifth grade,’’ she said.
She attended three colleges, including Rockland Community College. “I wanted to be a hockey writer,’’ Dolce said. “I love the Rangers. It’s my favorite sport and thought I was going to be a journalist.”
She changed gears and taught pre-school and pre-kindergarten while writing on the side. Her early writing centered on poetry with a group in Nyack. As social media started to evolve, Dolce discovered joy in blogging and writing. Her first book, “A Bird’s Eye View,’’ was published in 2008.
“My initial goal was to have my voice be heard,’’ she said. “Once I had the first book published, I wanted to take it a step further into social media. My goal was to get it out there and interact with other people. It has all come full circle with the advent of social media.”
Dolce, who took two years to write “Untouched,” is working on a sequel and another non-fiction book on adoption. She has her hands in a lot of markets, but all of them are centered on writing. Just not on hockey players, like the future she once envisioned.
“One of the things with writers is you have to keep writing,’’ Dolce said. “If you stop, you fall into a rut. You have to be constantly reading and writing.”
To learn more about Dolce and to purchase “Untouched,” click here to visit her website.