Bitten by history bug

Young Avelia Bushnell joined Shellharbour author Wendy Laharnar at the launch of her book, a historical fiction set in Switzerland. Picture: DAVID HALL

Young Avelia Bushnell joined Shellharbour author Wendy Laharnar at the launch of her book, a historical fiction set in Switzerland. Picture: DAVID HALL

SHELLHARBOUR writer Wendy Laharnar celebrated the launch of her paperback novel, The Unhewn Stone, last week at Shellharbour Village Exhibition Space.

The book is a "coming of age" story set in medieval Switzerland and was first published as an ebook in 2011. The story follows 18-year-old Stefan in his search for identity and his journey to restore honour to the family name.

Ms Laharnar's art comes in many forms, including creative writing, which incorporate science fiction, children's stories, fantasy and historical fiction.

"I caught the history bug on my first trip to Europe in 1977," she said. "When I came home, I wrote three volumes about our three months travelling and filled them with lots of research about the historical characters and events we heard of and the sites we visited. Then I wrote my first short story."

Ms Laharnar completed a diploma course on Professional Writing and then a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English Literature and History.

"I read many How To books and followed the Alicia Rasley and Holy Lisle workshops online, until I grasped what I needed to do. I joined face-to-face writers' groups, including the South Coast Writers Club when I lived in the Southern Highlands, and online critique groups and I've kept at it.

"However, my first published short story was not historical but science fiction."

Ms Laharnar said her inspirations were: good writing, the "magic of history" and chatting with like-minded people.

"There's nothing I like more than chatting about the process of writing or having a day-long writing marathon to share writing exercises that leave us exhausted, but sated. I hope every writer finds a wonderful 2014 writers' group in which to grow and prosper," she said.

The Unhewn Stone received a variety of accolades including Highly Recommended in the Wishing Shelf Awards 2014, a place in the International Digital Awards 2013 and the Editors Book Cover Awards 2011.

Link to The Unhewn Stone video book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8C1VzSUGeY

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