New locally written book The Rogue and the Peasant is receiving good reviews

Tired of the pandemic and looking for ways to escape?

Writer Amberley Martin has taken the leap to publish her own book and already has orders coming from New Zealand and the United States.

Amberley Martin grew up in Napier and started writing when she was 10. “It was about this age that my friends stopped wanting to play make-believe, so I started writing down the stories instead.”

Her teenage years were spent in Auckland where she was a huge drama nerd, but “never managed to land the starring role in the school play”. She continued to write all through high school, but took a break when she went to university and life got a bit hectic.

She earned herself a Bachelor of Arts in English from Waikato University and decided writing her own stories was better than acting out other people’s.

Ten years ago Amberley got back into writing, finished and polished a novel. She began to take the idea of ​​getting published seriously.

She is now settled on a lifestyle block near Te Awamutu with her husband and two daughters. She spends her days working as a web developer and her nights lost in imaginary worlds.

Before she started writing for adults, she had two manuscripts for young adults shortlisted for the Tessa Duder Award and the Ampersand Prize.

Her first novel, The Rogue and the Peasant, is a fun, fairytale adventure that blends the story of Rapunzel with Shakespeare’s Hamlet and features secret identities, a long-lost family, and a fairy godmother with a taste for trickery.

The book is tailored for adults who like a light-hearted fantasy in the vein of The Princess Bride or Stardust.

“It’s pretty surreal to know people are interested in reading my book,” Amberley says

“I’ve been writing for a long time but it’s a slow, often unrewarding process to find a traditional publisher who loves your book as much as you do, so I decided to self-publish this one to give myself more control over the process .”

There has been a lot of learning and the odd hiccup, but since her book’s launch in February, it has started to find its target market.

“It sounds silly, but I was writing with women like myself in mind. With the constant pressure of the pandemic, I just wanted to escape into something fun that had a happy ending, not something that would take a lot of emotion or concentration to get through.”

That’s exactly what she’s written, a cozy fantasy novel inspired by Shakespeare and fairytales.

She’s given copies to a few reviewers and, despite the known warning not to read your own reviews, she couldn’t help taking a peek and has been pleased to see it’s been getting good ratings.

“That’s reassuring. It’s a bit scary putting myself out there, but I thought other people might relate to how I was feeling and need this book as much as I did.”

She was delighted to get her hands on a hard copy of her book and hopes others will enjoy reading it as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Amberley has more stories on the way with book two in the series titled The Demi-Wolf and the Hunter, and it’s due for release in August.

The first draft of book three written, all going well, will come out next year. Each book in the series is a mash-up of a classic fairytale and a Shakespearean play.

Her hope for the future is that the book does well enough that “I can continue to add more books to the series as there are lots more fairytales that I think could use a new, fun twist.”

“There are also a few manuscripts on my hard drive that I’d like to revisit one day,” says Amberley.

She says she has had no shortage of ideas for new stories that will give her – and hopefully other people – a brief escape from the pandemic.

To find a copy ask your local bookshop or check out books2read.com/rogue-peasant

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