A reimagined Chattanooga with airships, fairies and a hoard of dark elves is the setting of a new novel from local author Eric Slade.
The novel, a steampunk/fantasy epic called “Havenwood,” is set in Chattanooga during the early 20th century. Billed as escapist fiction, the nearly 500-page adventure story is the first book in a series based in a world called “the Green.”
Slade released his debut novel, “Cloudbusting,” in 2014 and is offering purchasers of “Havenwood”-and anyone else who visits his website-a free download of a prequel called “The Fairy Killers”as a teaser for the novel.
Click hereto purchase “Havenwood.”
Although “Havenwood” was published this year, Slade said he’d been imagining this world since as far back as 1999.
“I’ve written several different things in this world, and I put it aside for a while and picked it back up two years ago,” Slade said. “So this is significant for me because I’ve had it in my head for so long.”
The protagonist of the novel is Tanna Cravens, a “woman ahead of her time” who finds herself in the middle of a war between plantation owners and the “indigenous elven tribes” who wish for them to go away. Cravens hits a true crisis point when her husband abandons her and leaves her to run their failing farm.
But it’s not just financial strife that plagues Cravens. A “dark fairy hoard” eventually destroys the farm, and she must “secure a safe place for those she loves before the paths between the worlds are closed forever.”
And that’s just the beginning of the story.
Slade was originally inspired-as many were-with the release of the “Harry Potter” series in 1997. He has also maintained a lifelong love affair with fairy lore and magical worlds, extending as far back as “The Chronicles of Narnia” series.
“But at the time, I also became really aware of the fact that these books were always owned by the British literary community . typically British authors and British places,” he said. “I just remember being a kid and reading all these books that seemed like they were happening far away.”
Slade asked himself, “What if that happened here?”-and that question became the seed of “Havenwood.”
“What if we had doorways, portals and fairies here?” he said. “That was my initial inspiration for the world, something that was uniquely part of the American South.”
During November 2014, Slade participated in National Novel Writing Month-known as NaNoWriMo-writing up to 2,000 words per day as a part of the initiative. He finished the first draft of “Havenwood” in three months and spent the rest of his time in the editing/rewriting process.
He said the novel is “pure escapism” and will appeal to anyone interested in the fantasy genre and, specifically, Chattanooga locals.
“People from Chattanooga will have an entry point through the locations and local history in the story,” he said. “It’s very much an adventure story, and most of the places are wildly imaginative. It’s a world you might want to curl yourself up and immerse yourself in.”
Slade said he’s already mapping out another novel for the upcoming NaNoWriMo session. He plans to write two sequels to “Havenwood” that take place in this world.
“Havenwood” retails for $4.99 in e-book format and $16.53 in paperback.