'Surreal’ experience for first-time author
Anastasia Slater never thought of herself as a writer but her novel, Hidden, proves otherwise.
The psychological thriller will be available in paperback at Brown & Co and directly from the author at the end of the month. It is available now, as an e-book on Amazon.com.
Ms Slater insists she couldn’t have got it done without the help she received from Brooklyn Knight’s writing course, 16 Weeks to Published.
“Everybody that knows me says, ‘I can’t believe you wrote a book.’ It’s even very surreal for me. Seeing people who could write a book, I always thought it was just an awesome gift to have. But I would never have been able to do it without Brooklyn Knight and her assistance and help. I want to say a big kudos to her. She’s amazing at what she does and she helps you from the beginning to the end of the process. So I’m very, very thankful to her.”
Hidden tells the story of Celeste Greene, a “successful, beautiful and sophisticated woman” who “seemed to have it all together”.
“But behind the filtered photos and fake smile, lied the truth,” the synopsis reads. “During the night, she was less than endearing and only one thing consumed her: vengeance. Most women would fall to their knees in tears when faced with heartbreak, but not Celeste.
“The truth is, there are three types of hurt women: the weak, the broken and the scorned. Only one of them is deadly. The question is: which one? In the end, love can be sweet but to Celeste, revenge is sweeter.”
Ms Slater, who writes as Abigail Falynn, had always kept a journal. About two years ago she started writing short stories and found she really enjoyed the process.
“It was just kind of a way for me to channel my thoughts, to channel my emotions on paper,” she said.
On Facebook, she stumbled across Ms Knight’s course and joined the March 2021 cohort a week late without a plot in mind.
“There are different styles of writing – and we learnt this in the course,” Ms Slater said. “There are writers that have to create a plot line, that have to jot down notes; for me, I just started to write and the plot started to develop as I wrote.
“I found that was what I was very good at. I was able to just write and the characters came to me. I could even visualise their face, what they looked like. So I would write down notes in terms of what I wanted and then build my plot from there. But for the most part I didn’t know what was going to happen next. It was a matter of just writing. The ideas just came as I started to write.”
Although maths had always been her strong point, being creative came easy to Ms Slater who, in her day job as a project manager, is “innovative in terms of coming up with ideas”.
“Making up characters and things like that; I’ve always been able to just come up with storylines. In the last two years it was just something to do really, being on lockdown, being home.”
Determination helped her through. Ms Slater, who also has a part-time job, frequently worked until 2am to meet her writing requirements.
“There were seven of us in our course. Everybody had a different genre they were looking to do and I wanted to do a psychological thriller – I love the fact that you can play with the mind and come up with characters that way,” she said, adding that she took inspiration from her favourite bestselling authors Nora Roberts and James Patterson. “But with that genre it required me to write a lot more. Those that were in my class wanted to do memoirs or self-help books which only required 100 pages. I had to have at least 250 to 300 pages in order for me to have a good storyline in my genre. I had to be up every night writing four to six pages at least.
“The whole process with her course is basically just write the skeleton, and then you can build out your storyline, your plot line, after. I was just writing, writing, writing and ended up completing my story before everybody else in the course. So I was very surprised at myself.”
Friends and family have been “very excited and proud” of what she has accomplished.
Said Ms Slater: “I’m proud of myself that I’ve gotten this far. Halfway through I was like, ‘I’m not going to be able to finish this.’ Because it does require a lot of time and energy. But the feedback has been tremendous and people have been waiting [to read it] and they’re excited about it.
“I find it very therapeutic just being able to write your thoughts, to write stories. Just for something to do – as you get older it’s hard to pick up a hobby.”
Encouraged by her first project Ms Slater has a second story in mind that she is hoping to publish in January.
“Now I can do it all on my own. One thing about Brooklyn Knight and her course, she teaches you the process from beginning to end. So I know who to contact if I want a book cover, who to contact if I want a book trailer, who I go to if I want to get my book edited. She’s awesome in helping you through all that.”
One thing that surprised her was discovering just how many other Bermudians had also published books.
“I didn’t realise we had a good bit and I think it’s because a lot of people go by their author pen names,” she said. “It’s so nice to know there are other Bermudian authors that are doing the same thing. It’s really cool.”
Hidden is available in paperback at the end of the month and as a Kindle e-book now. Order from author Anastasia Slater on Instagram