Tayla Ross has delved into a supernatural and mythological world to pen her debut novel, The Blue Rose.
Centred around a secret race of people with special powers called Bluebloods, the initial idea came to the now 23-year-old five years ago.
"Making up stories has always been a way of calming my anxiety down before going to sleep," she explained.
After some encouragement from her grandmother, it has evolved into a plan for a series of books, with the first book now published.
The Blue Rose is about a 16-year-old named Tayla Rose, who finds out she is part of the Bluebloods race, which no one knows exists.
"This race try and exist and keep themselves secluded because they don't want to be used. Not everybody is nice. There are dark forces, good and bad people and there's conflict."
Tayla explained that the powers Bluebloods have are varied and can be "activated" at any age, occurring when the person has an adrenaline spike. Their blood turns from red to blue and the person also gains abilities.
"It can come on at any age. Kids, adults and anyone in between, some are in their 30s and some are five. It's basically when they panic. There's seven to nine types of powers and they vary between people.
"In the first book, something bad happens to the main protagonist.
"She ends up transferring to a school where she learns to use her powers. It's very dramatic."
And while the story is supernatural, Tayla has worked hard to humanise the characters.
"They have ups and downs and there are connections within the connections, within the connections."
When it came to writing the story, Tayla, who struggled at school and was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 22, faced some challenges.
"Writing was a challenge because of the dialogue. The hardest part was how to put it, how to be detailed but not over detailed and find the balance.
She would write in 'spits and spurts', saying, "it's better to do it when you have inspiration which is when you have the good stuff written down. If you force yourself, your mood is reflected in the words."
Tayla also gave herself goals, including the number of pages per chapter, which encouraged her to fill out the characters as she went.
She found the process cathartic.
"Writing stuff down for the story has helped me work through things. I put my emotions into my words. When I'm feeling down or frustrated.... you can get your frustration out on the paper."
A fan of mythology and fantasy, Tayla said the beauty of creating a fictional world was that there were "no boundaries and you can set your own guidelines. You stick to the guidelines or say the reason for the guidelines to change."
Tayla explained that she doesn't write in a linear way and so far has enough in the story for three books, with ideas for a fourth and contemplating a possible fifth.
Support workers from Breakthru Taree helped her edit the book. "Editing was a big process, but it was fun."
Tayla is a carer for her mum, who has suffered two strokes (one when she was 18 and in her last year of school) and now has dementia.
The Blue Rose is available as an ebook on Kindle and as a paperback through Amazon, Booktopia and other online bookstores.
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