American publishing house picks up Timaru author's first novel

Timaru author Rachel Wilson, 24, is getting ready for the launch of her first novel, Voiceless, on July 11. The sequel, ...
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Timaru author Rachel Wilson, 24, is getting ready for the launch of her first novel, Voiceless, on July 11. The sequel, Expression, will be released in October.

Imagine Timaru, but 50 years from now.

The Hydro Grand Hotel is a train station, and a young woman is afflicted with a disease that has stolen her voice.

It is a scenario depicted in Timaru author Rachel Wilson's first published novel, Voiceless.

The 24-year-old writes under the pseudonym E G Wilson, which stands for her middle names, Elizabeth Grace.

"It's just a little bit more gender-neutral. Traditionally females don't sell well in sci-fi," she said.

Wilson works as an administrator for English Language Partners, which runs English classes.

Her sci-fi novel for young adults follows the adventures of Adelaide Te Ngawai and her older brother, Theo.

"Inspiration comes from everywhere. Mostly just growing up in Timaru, I really wanted to write a book set here."

Wilson attended Mountainview High School before studying environmental management and planning at Lincoln University.

She used some of her knowledge on planning and combined that with her appreciation of Caroline Bay, and the people of Timaru, to form her story.

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"Putting that in with sci-fi, seeing where Timaru could go in the future."

Wilson began work on Voiceless in November 2015 and had finished the first draft in December. She started working on the sequel, Expression, in January 2016, and it was finished within six weeks.

She then started submitting her work to publishers, which she said was a process that could take "years and years".

"I was really lucky, I heard back in a week from the publisher."

American publishing company Atthis Arts asked to see her full manuscript.

Standard procedure would involve an author submitting the first couple of chapters, she said. However, she signed a contract with the company in June, 2016.

"That's extremely fast."

She believed the publishing company liked the "New Zealand aspect" of the book, which was organically ingrained into the story.

She incorporated a lot of common Maori phrases into the book.

"Advance reviews have been picking up on that and they've been quite complimentary about that."

Wilson had been working to try and get her book into some New Zealand bookshops, but noted most people buy online these days.

She was negotiating with the Timaru Christian Bookshop at the moment.

She said she was a Christian author, but the book was not a Christian book, although it had themes that could be interpreted in a Christian way.

Voiceless is the first novel she has had published. She hoped to make a career out of writing. 

"The dream is to one day make a decent living of it. Even a small living would be nice."

The book will be launched at the Grindhouse Cafe on Stafford St on July 11.

 - Stuff

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