When Abbey Shader is summoned to Ethra, a land where human qualities roam free in flesh known as Essences, her life and the universe as she knows it splits open before her.
With the expansive secrets of humanity at her fingertips, Abbey’s strength of will and heart are put to a test no amount of time or meticulous study could have prepared her for.
Left to decide between the comfort of the familiar and the potential enlightenment of the strange, Abbey is thrust into a journey that demands more of her at every turn. She must learn to trust what she sees, and trust what she can’t.
A BIT ABOUT ME
My name is Hayley, and I'm a Melbourne-based writer of poetry, young adult fantasy and science fiction.
After five years of studying and working in the film and television industry, I decided to take a leap of faith in June of 2018 and self-publish ESSENCE - a young adult fantasy novel and the first instalment of The Essence Chronicles.
I soon discovered that the difficulty with self-publishing is that you only receive what you are able to give. (And often receive less than you give). It is difficult, of course, to gain thousands of readers and pump thousands of dollars into promotion whilst sacrificing a steady income for a full-time writing schedule.
Fortunately, I received an AMP Tomorrow Maker grant to fund the release of book two, LUMINESSENCE. I managed to maximise what I had to build a small but loyal following, connecting with readers and artists primarily through Instagram and Facebook advertising. I also won the Alan Marshall Short Story Award last year, had three poems published in the poetry anthology On First Looking, and another printed in the RMIT Tattoo Journal. I'm proud of these achievements, but I still look ahead to further possibilities.
Indie-publishing taught me a great deal about the craft of writing as well as self-promotion - and reinforced that they are two very different skills. I believe it has allowed me to hone each in a way that the traditional publishing route wouldn't have allowed.
Though, naturally, the dream is to one day stroll into Dymocks or Readings and find my book nestled amongst others of its kind. In many ways, I feel that my self-publishing journey would hugely benefit a traditional-publishing turn. I have researched the young adult market, experienced reader reactions firsthand, developed thick skin, set deadlines, worked with editors, book formatters, marketers - and have still, somehow, come out alive.
And so, next month I will send ESSENCE wider than I ever have before. In doing so, I hope to reach fresh eyes and begin to foster connections with those in the industry - even if only to offer them an entertaining and memorable read.
I do believe ESSENCE has great potential in the current market, and from the feedback I have received so far from my readers, it is successful in embracing the tropes we love whilst harnessing a fresh voice and an original concept.
'I have read books about vampires, werewolves, fae, witches, and even incubi, but I have never read anything like this. It was so fascinating and refreshing to read something entirely new to me...'