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Young Local Author Closes in on Top 25 for National Writing Competition


Budding local author, Byron Gillan is an avid reader, recent college graduate, and freelance writer. His first novel, The Children of the Forest, is currently seeking crowd-sourcing through Inkshares as part of the writing contest. Byron focuses on Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction, and enjoys blending genres together to create something new. His writing seeks to ask difficult questions about race, environmentalism, and other pressing social issues, exploring them through the lens of his favorite genres.

The Children of the Forest is set in a world ravaged by the effects of industrialization and war. Fionna Cohmwell is the princess of a small kingdom, removed from the greater conflicts and chaos of the outside world. When her idyllic home is invaded by exterior forces seeking to corrupt the land for their own nefarious gain, and her people are threatened with annihilation, Fionna must embark on a long and perilous journey to save her kingdom from ruin.

“I began writing the novel a decade ago, but took a considerable number of breaks in between drafts,” explained Byron. “In my sophomore year of college I was involved in a serious accident while riding my bike on Elmwood Avenue over the 198, which left me without the use of my right hand for over a month, although that was considered lucky by the doctor who operated on me, as I was told I only narrowly avoided having my hand completely severed. This sparked a renewed focus on my determination to realize my dream of becoming a published author. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree and began fine-tuning what would become The Children of the Forest. After an attempt to publish the novel through more traditional channels fell-through, I considered e-publishing, and that was when I learned about Inkshares through and contest.”

Byron goes on to explain, “The Children of the Forest was developed in reaction to the increasing social-consciousness of environmentalism in our every-day lives, and not just the movement itself, but the conflicts surrounding it. Unlike many, I’m quite capable of understanding that there are a variety of factors playing into the entire debate, for both sides, including the fact that many individual’s jobs and livelihoods rely upon industries that are being threatened by the global-push to move towards a “greener-society”. My fascination with this conflict gave rise to the novel. I wanted to explore a world where the battle between man and nature was more shades of grey, than an outright black and white issue.”

The contest runs through September 30, and awards a publishing deal to the top 5, based on their total number of unique purchases. It’s a great opportunity for new writers to test the waters, and receive important feedback from other like-minded members of the community. If the Children of the Forest sounds like your type of book, be sure to check out Byron’s profile here to read what he’s put up so for in his push for support of being a published author.

Cover Art by local artist, Nathan Deganis-Librera of Ndl Designs



Written by Mike Puma

Mike Puma

Writing for Buffalo Rising since 2009 covering development news, historic preservation, and Buffalo history. Works professionally in historic preservation.

View All Articles by Mike Puma
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