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Writing her own story

Already a published author of a thriller, Victoria Wlosok (BSBA ’25) is making the most of what UNC has to offer.

Victoria Wlosok (BSBA ’25) has been writing her own story since high school.

A student in the Undergraduate Business Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, she is already the author of the young adult thriller “How to Find a Missing Girl” published by major publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in 2023 with an accompanying audiobook recorded at Radio City Music Hall.

The birth of Wlosok’s novel unfolded as she entered UNC-Chapel Hill. “How to Find a Missing Girl” revolves around 17-year-old Iris Blackthorn who starts a “detective agency” with friends to find answers about the disappearance of her sister and then her ex-girlfriend. Reviewers call it “edge-of-your-seat compelling” and “refreshingly snappy, quick and all-consuming.”

Wlosok’s decision to write a mystery with LGBTQ+ characters stemmed from her desire for more diverse representation in print media. The novel is meant for fans of young adult thrillers who haven’t always been able to see themselves reflected in the genre’s pages.

But before she could earn this praise for her book, she had to start college. Born in the mountains of Sylva, North Carolina, Wlosok always had Carolina on her radar.

“I knew going into UNC that I wanted to be a double major in English and business,” she says. “I had my eye on UNC Kenan-Flagler.”

High achievement

Her love of the Business School has grown thanks to her ambitious, yet supportive, classmates.

“What I love about the Business School is that it has a different vibe, atmosphere and culture than any other place on campus,” says Wlosok. “I think that’s true of a lot of professional undergraduate programs in schools, but what makes UNC Kenan-Flagler unique is simply how many high-achieving, motivated people there are. And the professors just want everybody to succeed. It’s obviously very selective, so everybody is doing something and has some kind of real passion or interest. It’s obvious to see when you speak with them. I like being in a place that engages my brain in that way.”

Even after her outstanding accomplishment of getting published – one she made happen as she navigated her senior year of high school during the pandemic and transitioned into college life – she still feels as though there is more success to have.

Victoria Wlosok (BSBA '25)

“Sometimes, I still don’t feel like it’s enough, and it’s really easy to feel that way, especially in the high-pressure, academically oriented, high-achieving environment in the Business School,” says Wlosok. “But I think it’s important to know that every business student feels that way, regardless of how many things they’re involved in.”

From when she was accepted into the School, she jumped at the chance to dive into the business concepts that most interested her. Wlosok has a passion for marketing and found organizational behavior compelling. She was already making business decisions, including those involved in finding and choosing a literary agent.

“I was trying to pick my agent and speaking to their clients and figuring out who had the best editorial vision for my book, all the while going to ECON 101,” she says.

A typical college kid

In many ways, Wlosok is a typical college student trying to figure out who she is, what she wants and where she is going. While the dream she had since she was 5 years old – becoming a published author – already has come true, the struggle with the fear of missing out remains.

“I’m hoping to do more, getting in a case competition during my time at the B-school, get more hands-on experience, but I haven’t yet. I also have not done any kind of global experiential education through the Business School. I have a lot of friends who have and highly recommend it and love it,” she says. “And if I’m able to fit it into my schedule, that would be fantastic. I am juggling a double major in English and business and a minor in creative writing as well, though, so I just want to be able to finish my degree on time and then go to Thailand. Maybe that has to be okay.”

It is more than okay when considering all Wlosok has going on in her life, including writing her second book and promoting this first one.

“What I love about the Business School is that it has a different vibe, atmosphere and culture than any other place on campus. What makes UNC Kenan-Flagler unique is simply how many high-achieving, motivated people there are.”

Her unique journey in high school brought her to this point. She joined the creative writing club and became president in her senior year. She learned about National Novel Writing Month (known as NaNoWriMo), which has like-minded people passionate about writing who spend the month of November focused on their craft. It’s like a hackathon with words. The goal is to write 50,000 words that month.

“You write 1,667 words per day to basically get there and win,” says Wlosok, who made writing in November a tradition throughout her high school years. She wrote a poetry-based romance novel and a fantasy novel. Then the pandemic happened and Wlosok was a senior with lots of time at home. It gave her a chance to both write and research getting published. She leveraged social media and built a community of friends and mentors in the industry.

Life lessons

The child of immigrants from the Czech Republic, Wlosok has a history of making things happen for herself. Her business education, she says, is helping her to think strategically and practically about her art.

“Growing up, I built a go-figure-it-out-yourself attitude. If you have a question, find out how to answer it,” says Wlosok. “But being at UNC Kenan-Flagler is showing me how to ask the right questions. I don’t know what I don’t know. Being able to juxtapose my literary English classes with my very technical, very practical business classes and business concepts helps me be a more well-rounded individual; it also helps me be more professional. It helps me think about things, maybe even more strategically than I would otherwise.”

While Wlosok’s schedule is packed – she tours to promote her book, continues to be booked for events, and appears on some syllabi – she still manages to indulge in hobbies, including escape rooms, solving puzzles (which she describes as “meditative”) and reading books for fun, of course. Her favorite author as a kid was Mary Pope Osborne (BA ’71), who went to UNC, and her agent, Jessica Errera (BA ’14), is also a UNC alumna.

“It’s a full-circle moment for me being here,” she says. “I’m writing and there are a lot of authors in the publishing industry who have ties to UNC – who went here or who taught here. So, it feels like I’m part of a long-standing tradition.”