Debut novel hits the market

Newly published . . . Timaru author Sophie Owens released her first book Tales of Havengarde: Creatures in the Dark last month. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

A new Timaru author’s titillating tale has finally been published and released after eight years in the making.

Former Craighead Diocesan School pupil Sophie Owens released her first novel — Tales of Havengarde: Creatures in the Dark last month.

The fantasy novel follows the story of a small community of lycans teetering on the edge of survival in a land increasingly under threat from the Morlar, a blood-sucking, evil creature that thrives in the shadows.

A hobbyist writer for most of her life, Ms Owens said pressure from her friends made her finally take the leap into putting her work out there.

‘‘I have been writing ever since I learnt how to write.

‘‘There are many stories that date right back to my early years in school.

‘‘It’s always been something I’ve just done.

‘‘Writing has always been a coping mechanism for life and I got this story to a point where it was almost a book.

‘‘I casually mentioned it to a couple of friends and they were like ‘What? You’ve written a book, you’re going to let us read it right?’.

‘‘It was a pretty big jump from just doing this as hobby to letting people read it.’’

Hot off the shelf . . . The fantasy novel follows the story of a small community of lycans teetering on the edge of survival.

She said it was a new challenge delving into the publishing world.

‘‘I definitely discovered that I hate editing. Going over things like grammar, spelling and phrasing was quite painful.

‘‘Thank goodness for the dictate option on Word. That was my lifesaver.’’

Fantasy stories and previous life experiences played a big part in creating the story, she said.

‘‘I’ve always had the idea of this character from a very early age. In my early teens I thought about this character, it just stuck with me.

‘‘There has always been this fascination with the whole fantasy realm, there are so many fun things you can do with it.

‘‘I’ve built an entire world from scratch. It’s always been something I’ve done.

‘‘I’ve always been into creating characters and particularly creatures as well.

‘‘I worked as a zoo keeper for a little while, so I know a lot about animals and with that knowledge I was able to create some pretty cool creatures.’’

She said work was already under way on books two and three in the series.

The novel was published by Pegasus Publishers.

Ms Owens said her book would eventually be available at local bookshops and a Timaru launch party was being organised.