PUSLINCH – Although Niki Florica started writing her book The Heir of Ariad long before COVID-19 was even a thing, she hopes young adult readers will find relevance in her epic fantasy.
The main character is a warrior who makes a grave mistake and is exiled. While away, “he realizes he is Chosen,” the 18-year-old said in a phone interview. “He had a difficult childhood and was always told his father is a traitor. So, he’s figuring things out for himself, and discovering who he is.”
If this sounds a bit like Lord of the Rings, Florica would take that as a compliment.
“It’s very much inspired by Tolkien,” she said. “Plus, the “Book of Exodus.” I’m a Christian and there’s a spiritual tie-in.”
Florica, who lives in Puslinch, is wrapping up her final year at Centennial C.V.I. She hopes to study English and creative writing at the University of Guelph in the fall.
She started writing this book when she was 14, finished it at 15, and self-published when she was 17. This book will actually be the first of a three-part series. The draft of book two is done and she has “ideas” for the third.
“It is complex, going from one book to the next,” she said. “I had to revisit the first one a bit, just to tie up loose ends.”
Florica said she enjoys fantasy fiction because even when it’s other-worldly, it’s still an effective way to comment on the real world.
“You can weave important truths and messaging into fantasy and I’m better suited to worlds that are not ours,” she said.
If there’s a theme she’d like to stress, it’s that there is forgiveness for everyone.
“God has a purpose for everyone,” she said. “This is a story of hope.”
The Heir of Ariad costs $22 and is available online at Amazon, Indigo, and Barnes & Noble.