It is the ultimate collaboration: He is the idea man and she is the writer. Together a Penticton mother and son team has written and published a novel.
“I’m pretty creative and I like to come up with ideas,” said Aidan Davies, a Grade 11 student at Penticton Secondary School. “It started while I was sitting on the couch and my mom said I want to write a book, give me an idea. So how it works is, I write down the entire plot and then she writes out the finer details. The story is always evolving between us.”
Paula Baker and her son Davies have just released The Hawks: Book One, Rebels of Halklyen, geared towards middle school to high school readers. The historical fantasy appeals to readers who enjoy an adventure story with plenty of sword play. In the story, 13-year-old Flint is rescued from the gallows only to find himself in the middle of a rebellion. In a country where people live in fear of the evil king, only the Hawks dare to stand up and fight. Hidden from the view of the evil and all-seeing Martokallu, the Hawks prepare for a battle that will win the freedom of Abbarkon.
Helping them with artwork for the cover and drawing a map is Davies’ classmate Anna-Jo Grandbois.
Davies said it was a long process, going from concept to having an actual published 344-page book in their hands and available in stores, online at Amazon Books and Ebooks at both Kobo and Kindle. The teen made sure to thank his dad in the author’s dedication page with an, “I told you so.”
“He kept saying we will never finish it. He wouldn’t read any of it until it was done and said I’ll read it when it gets published. So now here it is and he liked it,” said Davies.
It was during summer holidays, when Davies was in Grade 9, that the duo started writing. After collecting big binders full of pages, the long process of revising and editing began. Two years later, Book one is published and Book two is complete and set to be released later this year.
“I’m the workhorse,” joked Baker. “I have the skills to write but not the stories. When I started this with him I was thinking in terms of getting Aidan writing more. There is so much work behind any book. It has opened up my eyes because there is more than just the mere sitting down and getting the words on a page. There is the reading back, juggling everything and making sure there is no inconsistencies. You have to re-create sentences to make sure they are as powerful as can be, but then there is choosing the perfect font and a bunch of other things. It was a whole learning process.”
The band teacher and librarian at McNicoll Park Middle School said she has read most of what the school library offers and has seen a surge of books targeting the middle school to high school readers since J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series exploded with popularity. It was part of the reason why they chose their target audience. Before Christmas the local authors released The Hawks: Book one for free on Kindle for five days and got about 105 downloads.
“This has been a fun project for us and when we were finished it felt like it needed an audience. We had to take the next step with it, we couldn’t just drop it in a drawer and forget about it. We felt like we had to get it out there,” said Baker. “This is stepping way out of our comfort zone, even giving the book to our first reader.”
Baker and Davies will be at Hooked on Books in Penticton, one of the places the novel is currently on sale, on April 10 at 3:30 p.m. for a reading and will be giving away two copies of their book. Everyone is welcome to come and hear about The Rebels of Halklyen and get their copies signed by the authors.
Grade 7 and 8 students around Penticton and Summerland will get an opportunity to receive their own copies of the book through the sponsorship of Raise-A-Reader.