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All about The Secrets of the Forest

Hello again. It's been a while since I last posted on here, but I haven't abandoned this just yet, hehe! I'm back with a short post talking about my debut novel, The Secrets of the Forest! You can find information about it here, but if you would like something a little more in depth and would like to learn about the process of writing and publishing it, keep reading!


The Secrets of the Forest was published on July 31st 2019, and it certainly was a dream come true for me! It is a YA Paranormal Fantasy novel

and follows the story of teenager Sarah-Rose struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of her father, and her mother's alcohol abuse. In a moment of complete and utter despair, she decides to go into the Forest, in the hopes that it will take her life like it does with everyone else who ventures into its trees. The book opens with Sarah-Rose sitting under a tree, awaiting the seemingly inevitable death. But nothing happens to her.


The Forest, even though it is not human, is still a very important character in this book. It is magic. It has a mind of its own, and dictates everything that happens within its boundaries. It decides who lives, and who dies. And the Forest has decided that Sarah-Rose is one of the special few who will live through her encounter with it, for now, but that doesn't mean she will leave unscathed. Nobody can enter the Forest without serious consequences.


Sarah-Rose discovers that there is more to the Forest than meets the eye. First she meets an angel, then is introduced to the spirits that roam through the Forest. But these are just one of the many secrets the Forest is hiding.


As I mentioned, Sarah-Rose is one of the few who will survive her first encounter with the Forest. But the Forest is slowly killing her. It is taking her soul, using it to feed its magic and grow stronger. It owns her soul now, and there is nothing she can do to stop it. And at the end of it all, the Forest will make its final decision whether she dies, or becomes a spirit, destined to walk through its trees for eternity.


Here's some extracts for you:


Chapter 1: "Sarah-Rose sat alone under a tall oak tree, curled up in a ball. Her knees were tucked into her chest, trembling hands gripping her shins. She heaved a sob, hot tears spilling down her cheeks. A gentle wind rustled through the trees, blowing her hair into her face and hitting her skin like a fist of ice, especially around the many cuts and bruises that decorated her."


Chapter 4: "She brought her hand up to her necklace and wrapped her fingers around the smooth jade stone. She focused on the sound of the rushing water, pushing all questions from her mind. Somewhere in the Forest, a fox barked, calling for its young. The gentle wind carried the sound throughout the Forest, and birds quickly fled the trees in a fluster of wings. The wind pressed against her back, messing with her hair, and she took her hand from her necklace to smooth it back into place. It didn’t seem like this place was dangerous. It didn’t seem like it could hurt anybody. There was another gust of wind, and the Forest seemed to sigh."


Chapter 17: "...Everything had been pushed to the back of their minds, like they left the person they once were behind. They had made a newer, happier life for themselves within the boundaries of the Forest, even though they were surrounded by death and darkness. They didn’t even bat an eye at death anymore, it was so normal for them now. They had eternity to forget everything, and they’re doing a good job of it, too."


Chapter 26: "Layla lead her deeper into the trees. The Forest was beautiful at night. The moonlight beamed down through holes in the leaf canopy above them, making the rocks glisten and the raindrops on the grass twinkle. It was magical."


The story follows Sarah-Rose in her final few days, living under the shadow of the Forest who will soon make its decision. Despite the impending doom, she tries to continue with a somewhat normal life, but death and darkness follow her, even when she is outside the Forest boundaries. This book is not for the faint-hearted- things can get gory! It is quite a dark book... But I hope you'll enjoy it nonetheless!


I started writing The Secrets of the Forest when I was fourteen, but the story was quite different from what it is today. I rewrote the story when I was fifteen, mainly because the original story was not coherent and had a lot of unnecessary scenes that I had simply added to bulk out the story. It was only a skeleton of the book it is now. I had also gained a lot more knowledge and experience writing novels as I had written two other books before I rewrote The Secrets of the Forest. I re-outlined and redrafted the book in a few months, and made it the story that it is today. And I am super happy with it now!


After a few rounds of edits, I took a leap of faith and jump into the world of publishing, not expecting much but somehow I ended up with a publishing contract! I was in TY when this happened, and I was away on a trip to Delphi (Where there is absolutely no phone signal at all!), but when I got home I saw I had received an email while I was away with the offer of a contract! I was amazed and could not believe what had happened!


I won't bore you with the nitty gritty details of the long publishing process, but I will tell you what followed was multiple rounds of editing, cover designing and proofing, formatting and conversing with the marketing team on the best approach for my book. It was a very fascinating experience, albeit quite a long one! But finally the day came- My book was being released into the world.


If someone had told me years ago that I would publish a book before I turned 18, I wouldn't believe them. But it happened, and I am so grateful that it did! The Secrets of the Forest was released on July 31st 2019, when I was only 17 years old.


Release day was awesome! I had a celebratory breakfast with my friend Jordon, and was featured in the Bray People newspaper! That evening we had a launch party, and we celebrated the release of my debut. It was so much fun, and I will never forget it!!!


Since then, a lot has happened with this book. I even saw my book in an actual book shop, which was such a surreal experience! I am so grateful for all the wonderful support and encouragement I have received, and I just want to thank all of you so much for your support, it really does mean a lot to me!


So there you have it- all about my debut novel The Secrets of the Forest. This book means the world to me, and I am so happy I am able to share it with you all. If you would like to buy a copy for yourself, you can order online on pretty much all online retailers, but here are the links to Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository. You can also find it on Goodreads. If you have read The Secrets of the Forest, I would be so grateful if you could leave a review. Reviews help me so much, and give my other books a better chance of being published in the future.


If you've made it this far, thank you for staying and being interested in hearing what I have to say! Stay safe everyone!


-Helena

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