A FIRST novel by a local author is now available through Amazon in both paperback and e-book formats.

The Key of Ornoss by Andrew White is described as an exciting fast-paced young adult fantasy with a trans twist. It tells the story of 15-year-old Cal who doesn’t seem to fit in, but when a mysterious encounter with the handsome, extraordinary Drue catapults Cal into a strange and different world, fitting in isn’t a problem, but survival will be.

Andrew says he came to write the book purely by accident.

"I had finished reading a fantasy novel and headed off to Waterstones in Darlington to find my next book, " he said. "After half an hour browsing the shelves, I came away with nothing. Enter a key player in this tale, the small voice in my head that said ‘you can’t find anything to read, so why don’t you have a go at writing something?’

"With no expectations, I picked up a notebook and pen and, as if from nowhere, a conversation took place on the page between two characters. I didn’t know who they were, where they were, how they met but it just felt very natural so I went with it.

"Several weeks and several notebooks later I had what turned out to be about 70,000 words of a story. It was completely jumbled up and out of sequence, so I set to work typing it up in order, scoring out each page as I went. By the time I’d finished it had a beginning, a middle and an end – it was a proper book, or rather the first draft of one. I couldn’t quite believe it."

Andrew grew up in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, and he was there to see the changes for the better in what he calls his 'beautiful little country'. He left his homeland for art college in London, became a teacher, then moved onto publishing, and now lives in North Yorkshire. A chance encounter took him into the charitable sector where he now works for a North-East charity.

After the usual rounds of contacting publishers and agents, he decided to self publish and his arts background gave him the skills to design his own cover.

A chance meeting at a funeral with local writer, Tracey Iceton, who is also a writing coach, mentor and editor, was a key moment, turning a sad day into the opening of a door for him.

"It's all a little bit scary now the book is actually out there, " he said. "You wonder if anyone will buy it or like it – but it's scary in a good way, I think. I'm busy editing the second part of the trilogy now. Overall it has been a fun process. I never knew that I could write or enjoy it so much. It has been amazing."

The e-book is available to at Amazon.