A new adventure book for pre-teens is hitting bookstore shelves from an author formally from Yorkton.
Eldritch Manor is the first book from Kim Thompson, who moved to Yorkton when she was four, and stayed through her high school graduation.
"Eldritch Manor" is my first novel," said Thompson who had lived in Toronto for 20-years until a recent move to the West Coast. "It's aimed at a Young Adult audience (aged 8-12). I always planned it to be for young readers, I have a great passion for children's literature and in my TV work I've always written for kids so it's a landscape I know well."
The story line is actually one which has rolled around in Thompson's mind for years.
"I had the first spark for this story when I was just a kid, in elementary school (Columbia Elementary) rabidly reading books about mythology, stories about Greek and Norse gods and goddesses," she told Yorkton This Week. "I had the single thought, or image, of mythological beings living in a regular house, a house with long hallways and lots of doors, and a strange fantastical creature living behind each one.
"That was all I started with, but sometimes a fragment of an idea like that can stick in your mind for years. In this case it really stuck - it only took about 30-years to come up with a plot and get around to writing the thing."
And even once Thompson sat down to pen the tale the years would roll by before it was complete.
"I started writing this book about 10-years ago, but very slowly because I didn't have a lot of time to spend on it. I'd write a chapter and share it with my writing group, then revise it over and over again, and then it might take months to get around to writing the next chapter.
"Two years ago I had a little time one summer and was determined to finish the book off once and for all. It was only half done, but I had a pretty detailed outline and notes for the remaining chapters. That helped a lot, and over the next couple of months I finished the first and second drafts."
Interesting writing itself was not the biggest barrier to completing the work.
"I'd say the two most difficult things about writing this book had nothing to do with writing. They were: finding and making the time to write, and convincing myself that I could write a novel," said Thompson. "I was pretty comfortable writing for television, but novel writing is an entirely different kettle of fish."
As might be expected the book tells the story of a young person.
"Thirteen-year-old Willa Fuller discovers a very odd boarding house, inhabited by some extremely strange old folks," explained Thompson. "Willa's curiosity leads her to stumble across their secret, and it's a doozy.
"The inhabitants of Eldritch Manor are mythological beings in retirement. They take Willa into their confidence, hiring her as housekeeper.
"Soon, however, Willa is drawn into the household's struggle against larger, dark forces.
"In the end it falls largely to her to defend the house and her new friends against attack from malevolent creatures from the 'other side', including an immense black snake. The situation is way over Willa's head, but she manages to corral the oldsters and figure out the riddle at the centre of the conflict."
Thompson said the book finally came to fruition as she applied herself more fully to the craft.
"Like I said, I wrote mostly in fits and starts for years, but at the end I was a lot more consistent about sitting down for at least three-hours of writing nearly every day," she said. "Because I had a solid outline I didn't have to wait for inspiration, I knew what needed to be done so I could just plough ahead.
"That said, there are days when you just know that nothing good is going to come out of your brain so it's best to just cut your losses and do the laundry or wash your dishes instead.
"Often I would escape my home office and go to a coffee shop to write.
"Strangely enough I felt there were fewer distractions in a busy coffee shop than in my own home. No temptation to pace and putter around the house anyway. In a coffee shop you sit in your chair and there's nowhere to wander to until it's time to leave."
Once the story was complete finding a publisher was the next step, one Thompson said she handed to another.
"I had a literary agent making the submissions to publishers, so I just tried not to think about it until I received good news! There were a few rejections before Dundurn expressed interest in the book," she said.
The release date of the book was September 29.
"So it hasn't been out long, but so far the response has been very positive," said Thompson. "I received a very nice review in Quill and Quire, and there have been other favourable reviews online, so; so far so good."
Thompson said writing has been a nice change for her.
"I was an avid reader from the start and was always interested in writing stories. I always had a notion I'd like to be an author some day, but it took me a long time to get around to it," she said.
"As I attended film school in Toronto I took screenwriting courses and wrote the scripts for my own short films. After graduation I worked as a Production Manager at an animation studio and a few years later managed to break into writing work – writing scripts for children's cartoons.
"It seemed like a perfect fit for me, and that's what I've been doing for the last 14 years."
So Thompson has already returned to her keyboard.
"I've got a couple of new young adult novels in the works, but I just spent the last few months packing up and moving across the country, so I haven't been able to do much writing lately.
"As soon as our new life here settles down a bit, I am very keen to get back to work."