I wrote my first novel, Nemesis, while I was studying for my Master’s degree in English. The reason I wrote it was partly because the story and characters had been in my head in some form or other for the previous decade, but mostly because I felt if I didn’t just do it then I never would.
So I wrote the first 50,000 in one month for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – then I kept going! I completed my first draft and let it sit. Then I started editing. I’d proved to myself I could write a novel that I was proud of.
I submitted it to agencies unsuccessfully. I always thought I would burn up with the humiliation of being rejected, but actually I felt good. Okay, they didn’t like it, but I could still self-publish.
Headstrong and defiant, Elina Zhao has a habit of getting into trouble. For years, she has known that the Matyan occupation of her country, Jiayu, is unjust. Although she is street-smart, the only thing the Kesari rebel group she is trying to work for trust her with is delivering messages between themselves. However, when she meets their mysterious leader, and is given the chance to prove herself, Elina is determined not to let her opportunity go to waste. She enters the Chanjuan Palace, fortress of the Matyan military, and witnesses something she was never meant to see. Elina must flee for her life, and hope that Vasco Kovalev, the vicious soldier responsible for the massacre of Jiayun children, does not find her.
Meanwhile, deep in the forest, a band of outcasts, exiles and orphans are hatching a plot of their own. Amongst dangerous new allies, Elina must gain their trust – navigating bitter rivalries, challenging old prejudices, and even gaining a few friends along the way. She will have to grow stronger, nurturing a power that has lain dormant inside her until now. But there is a shadow in the woods, closer than any of them realises – and when Elina returns home to seek her vengeance, she is faced with a choice that sees her questioning even her most deeply-held beliefs about right and wrong.
Part-political fantasy, part-action thriller, NEMESIS engages with the themes of power, loyalty, revenge and forgiveness. It will appeal to fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas, along with anyone who has ever doubted themselves, but found the strength to keep going.
You can purchase Nemesis for £2.28 from Amazon.