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Elle Thornton is an award-winning fiction writer who grew up on military bases in the South and West, a background that is reflected in her first book, The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis. The Florida Writers Association recognized the novel with a First Place Royal Palm Literary Award for YA historical fiction. The Military Writers Society of America awarded the book a Bronze Medal.


The story unfolds in the segregated South on a Marine base in North Carolina. During World War II, black Marines were allowed to serve their country only in segregated support units or as stewards; they were trained and lived separately from whites. Although by the conclusion of the Korean conflict segregation in the Corps had largely ended, it continued in the Stewards' Branch composed of black Marines where Steward Duty Only enlistment contracts blocked advancement. Set in 1957 within this context of military history, and with the racial slaying of Emmett Till taking place two years earlier, The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis tells the coming-of-age story of a friendship between twelve-year-old Gabriella, the general's daughter, and a Marine steward who works in the general's quarters.


Elle Thornton received a Gold award for her unpublished mystery Touch the Dead in the 2019 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary competition. In addition, the book was named 2nd Runner-Up Book of the Year (unpublished category). The Florida Writers Association has also recognized her novel Babe with a First Place Royal Palm Literary Award. She is a former newspaper and television reporter, technical writer, and writing instructor. Her poetry has been published in The Connecticut River Review and The Concho River Review