The fifth Harry Potter book was out before I picked up the first, so long had I scoffed at the idea of modern authors even daring to attempt following in the footsteps of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and others whose contributions to fantasy and magical writing will never be equaled.
Today, I own all the Potter books in first printings and caught my share of the movies on opening night. I admit it, I’m a fan. Better still, I’m willing to open my bookshelves to other authors ready to be daring and put everything inside them down on paper.
J.L. Coalwell is a relatively new name to the literary world, but she is one such individual whose first novel, just released in print, caught my attention. While promoting her book, she took time from her hectic schedule to be a guest on my Phoenix radio show, and my suspicions were proved accurate: Coalwell, and her book, are exactly what readers are looking for today.
The book is called “Amber Grey: calm before the storm” and is the first of a trilogy Coalwell is nearly finished writing. Rather deftly, she has combined fantasy, suspense and even a touch of historical fiction into one debut novel that swiftly carries the reader from start to finish, but sets an impressive and foreboding stage for what lies ahead.
Readers have the good fortune of being present at Amber Grey’s birth, and from the day she entered the world, her parents knew she was special. Her presence alone could brighten a room. But as Amber grows, and her powers develop, what we see is a child with the ability to affect the weather and so much more.
Called a “child heroine unlike any since King’s Firestarter,”
Coalwell’s Amber Grey actually delves much deeper into the psyche of a child and our society because this young woman learns early that what she can do must be used to protect, not to destroy. This is a novel of the unknown, the supernatural, while getting to the heart of what it really means to be human.
When we spoke, J.L. Coalwell talked about the challenge of putting this first book in her trilogy to paper, of the amalgamation of all the people and experiences in her life that comprise who and what Amber Grey is. “As authors, we really do work to open up and put our souls onto paper,” she said.
It may not be standard practice to talk with authors before writing reviews, but as I reflect on what Coalwell has written—the fascinating first adventure of what I believe will be a captivating trilogy for ages 12 through adult—I believe it is more than her own soul Coalwell has put to paper. Rather, it may be a fresh examination of our own, accurately viewed through a child’s eyes.
“Amber Grey: calm before the storm” (Brighton Publishing
) is available as an eBook and in print nationwide. Here is the Amazon link: AMBER GREY: CALM BEFORE THE STORM