East Antrim landscape inspired local author’s fantasy tale

A Gleno-based author has told of how the countryside around her home inspired her first book, along with its upcoming sequel.

Author Megan Jayne.

Megan Jayne’s debut novel, young adult fantasy The Worlds That Separated Us, was published earlier this year.

She originally began the manuscript five years ago, taking a break from writing when she had her daughter.

But like many others, the onset of the pandemic last year meant an increased amount of time spent indoors - time Megan spent honing her craft.

The cover of Megan's first book, The Worlds That Separated Us.

“I picked up my original draft, re-wrote everything and The Worlds That Separated Us started to take shape. I started writing in the summer of 2020 and finished by November, so it took me roughly five to six months start to finish,” Megan said.

A married mum of two, Megan previously worked as a receptionist and admin assistant for an online retailer. “It was while I was working there that I got the idea for my novel during a lunch break,” she added.

“I’ve always loved reading and creative writing, dreaming up stories on long car journeys to pass the time. I wrote my very first book when I was just 15, spending my summer writing. It wasn’t anything I would ever put out in the world, but it was the first time I realised I had a real passion for storytelling.” 

The Worlds That Separated Us tells the story of university graduate Rosie.  “Rosie is from Earth - at least she’s never had cause to question that before now. After a car accident and an oddly familiar stranger turn her world upside down, she is forced to question everything she thought she once knew.” 

Meanwhile, the tale was heavily inspired by the author’s local landscape.  “I’ve lived in Larne from I was around 13, moving from Carrickfergus, and for the past six years my husband and I have lived in Gleno,” added Megan, 27. 

“The countryside that we are surrounded by was a massive inspiration for my story. I absolutely love spending time outdoors and most of the scenery described is taken directly from my doorstep, including the Glens of Antrim, Woodburn Forest, and Carrickfergus Castle – which is the castle the one featured in my book is based on.  Although the story is set in the Scottish Highlands, it is very much inspired by our country.”  

The Worlds That Separated Us was published independently - an “amazing experience” for the author.  “I really enjoy being involved in every aspect of the publishing process, it has given me a lot of insight into the publishing world and all the wheels that need to be turned in order to bring a book to readers,” Megan said.

“From cover design, to formatting, editing, and marketing, I’ve had the opportunity to wear many different hats. It’s a lot of work but seeing the final product that I’ve been creatively involved with from the beginning become tangible has been incredible.”  

Protagonist Rosie’s story is set to conclude in upcoming sequel The Worlds That United Us, scheduled for release in May next year.  “I’m very excited for my readers to see how the story wraps up. It picks up around a week after the events at the end of book one. I would say the sequel is darker than the original, with a lot more romance. I can’t say too much without spoiling the ending to the first book, but I will leave you with the tagline: Worlds will collide. Enemies will burn. War will destroy.”

Support from her family, as well as the online writing community, has spurred Megan on in her creative journey.  “When I started writing The Worlds That Separated Us, I kept it a secret from everyone apart from my husband, who was extremely supportive and it’s because of him I pushed through the fear and decided to publish my work,” she said.

“When I knew I was going to publish I started to tell those closest to me and I was overwhelmed by the amount of love and support I received. Since then, I’ve been very lucky to have writers I connect with online that write within the young adult genre. I think the writing/reading community is one of the most welcoming and inspirational out there and I’m very glad to be a part of it. 

“I’m also a massive reader myself so getting to chat to readers of my own books has been a dream come true. I’ve been so thankful for the support of local bookstores The Book Nook and The Secret Bookshelf; both have been so kind and helpful, and it’s really heart-warming to know that my community supports my work.”

For more information, visit www.meganjayneauthor.com


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