The joy, excitement and relief on the face of young Western Australian author, Claire Merchant, is evident after having her first novel published and available for purchase around the world.
Ms Merchant, an alumna of The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus, said it was rewarding to know that her work could be read by people of all ages in different countries, with different backgrounds and for different purposes.
The fantasy-themed novel, Mistry by Moonlight, follows the story of Taylor Mistry who returns home from her travels to Italy a changed woman.
The once overweight young woman who felt invisible to passersby is suddenly getting attention – from an old infatuation to a mysterious stranger – all longing for her heart.
However, after an unusual experience with an injured wolf, Taylor’s life seems more complicated than ever and could be under threat by an unknown presence.
Ms Merchant said the story’s theme was very personal and one she wanted to share with others.
“I went through a stage in my life where I wanted to feel different or to be seen differently. But then I realised that the biggest thing that I needed to change was how I saw myself,” Ms Merchant said.
“Writing has always been an outlet for me so it was a great way to apply those thoughts constructively into the story with a supernatural flavour.
“I try to make sure my stories are as authentic as possible. Continual research is an essential part of the process in order to enter into the psyche of the character. This allows readers to experience the emotions and feelings each character experiences at different stages of the story.”
Having had a passion for writing from a young age, Ms Merchant viewed a career path in Literature more realistically after studying a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Education (Secondary) at Notre Dame. Ms Merchant has since finished 13 other stories covering diverse topics and themes.
She said a background in English Literature, communications and education enhanced her reading capacity and broadened her writing scope, particularly in the areas of character, story and audience.
“Having a background in education and teaching is great because it taught me the importance of theme, character, plot, climax and turning point – all essential components of a successful work of Literature,” Ms Merchant said.