New, local author pens post-apocalyptic novel
It’s been a whirlwind year for Airdrie’s Theresa Shaver, 36.
In the last five months, the mother of two has completed and published her first novel, written a second book to be published in October and is working on a novella.
Her first novel, Land, A Stranded Novel, which was published on Amazon.com in April, has ranked as high as second on the bestseller list of the site’s Science Fiction for Young Adults category, and now sits at number 20. It has also been given an average ranking of 4.6 out of five stars, with many readers awarding it five stars.
“I am completely shocked,” said Shaver. “The things (people) are saying about this book, they had me in complete awe.”
Land is a post-apocalyptic novel written for young adults ages 16 and older. The 70,000-word novel explores the adventures of five teenagers, farm kids from a fictional town in central Alberta, who are left stranded while on a class trip to Disneyland when an electromagnetic pulse destroys the electrical grid.
The teens set out on foot and are faced with misadventure as civilization begins to crumble.
As the days go by with no food deliveries and no water flowing from taps, it is survival of the fittest for the teens, who travel across five states and half a province, through lawless territory with nothing but their skills and intelligence, to make their way home.
Shaver, an avid reader, said she was inspired by her love of science fiction movies and books.
The book explores the theme of cooperation and community for survival, something near and dear to the author’s heart.
“I feel that people are so disconnected to one another and I grew up on a farm where family and neighbours meant everything at one another,” said Shaver. “As horrendous as it would be if such a thing (as in the subject of my book) should occur, it would force us back to being community minded in order to survive.”
Shaver said her next book, Sea, A Stranded Novel, will explore another group of teens from the class who made the decision to try to get home via a ship.
Shaver said she is already planning a third novel in the series, to be set in the teens’ home town. Shaver grew up in northern Ontario on a mixed farm and brings that experience into her first novel as well. Her first and second books showcase the differing skills of the two groups, the first being predominantly farm kids and the second being from a town.
A novella, to be published later this fall, will explore what happened to the remaining class who made the decision to wait for the government to take care of them.
Shaver said she wanted to showcase youth in her novel to show they are capable.
“I wanted to show that there are smart people out there and teenagers can be smart,” she said, adding there is an element of darkness to her novels due to the series’ serious subject matter.
Shaver has been a longtime writer, specializing in short stories. After reading an article about self-publishing, she decided to take the plunge herself.
“I wrote the book and I didn’t even attempt to send it out to agents or publishers,” she said. “I immediately uploaded it to amazon.com”
Shaver said the self-publishing platform was user-friendly and the whole experience was amazing, as she felt she had found her niche.
“(I feel) this is what I am supposed to do,” said Shaver, adding so far she has made more than she could working full time.
“Now that I have started, I am addicted to writing. (I was) able to express myself this way and provide for my family,” said Shaver, who is a stay-at-home mother of two school-aged children. “It is fulfilling something for me as a person and a woman but also allows me to be a mother.”
Shaver offers advice for aspiring readers.
“Just do it, sit down and just let it out,” she said, adding she edited the book after writing the entire first draft.