Complete at 67,000 words, From Winter’s Dawn is a YA coming-of-age fantasy inspired by snow legends from around the world, from Yuki-onna to The Snow Queen.
Every Winter, death tolls rise when temperatures plummet, but only the victims know that a force, far greater than the cold, lies behind their murders. Snow-spirit, Eira, feeds on human souls with her sisters as they trail Winter across the world. When Eira loses her closest sibling whilst trying to protect a human baby from her other sisters, she decides that claiming the child could be the answer to mending her broken heart.
However, the baby has an inconveniently handsome and loyal brother. As Eira infiltrates their lives to learn how to care for the child, she starts to develop feelings that no snow-spirit should have towards a human boy. As her understanding of humanity rises, she must face the conflict between her need to feed, her conscience, and her emotions.
Meanwhile, Eira’s remaining sisters are waiting impatiently for her to rejoin them. And, unbeknown to her, if she doesn’t do as they ask, the humans that she has come to care about will become the target of their fatal resentment.
I am currently living in Dubai and work on a supply basis as a Primary School teacher to compliment my writing ambitions. A few years ago, I completed an Open University Creative Writing course earning a Distinction, and in 2017, I was a winner in the Montegrappa Competition for First Fiction. I am also a member of a small writing group.
Many thanks for this opportunity and for giving your time to this wonderful project.
We both catch the scent of our prey in the same moment.
‘Down there, Eira!’ Lumi calls above the snow-swirled wind.
I follow her gaze, spotting two humans far below. One is slumped against a wall on the deserted frozen high street, the other is huddled in a bus shelter. Maybe they’re homeless or maybe their homes are the reason they’re there alone. Either way, it’s the one on the high street that’s emitting the scent: its soul already sweetened by the frost-bitten daze of exposure. The intensity of my hunger amplifies. Sweet souls are the best.
The first feed of Winter’s Dawn awaits.
Lumi swirls across to hover beside me, the wild snowflakes of her hair lashing above the currents of her cloak. ‘You ready?’ She grins.
‘Always!’ I’m about to call across to ask Olwen and Alba to join us, but Lumi senses my idea before it’s even shaped into words. And, in turn, I sense her response. I’m being too sentimental. They’ll find their first feed together. That’s the way it’s been since Alba reawakened and Olwen took charge.
And it’s fine. I don’t mind. Really.
Lumi and I plunge towards the town, trailing blizzards in our wake.
We slow as we draw closer and Lumi contracts into her full human form, every snowflake molding tightly together as she lands on the snow-covered road. She’s fully-fledged now: a dazzling young ice woman, tall and slender with a cascade of ice-waves flowing down her back.
And suddenly, from out of nowhere, a fluttering of inadequacy ripples through me. This is strange. I’m Eira. I pride myself on not caring what I look like. Or at least, I did for the last fourteen winters. Maybe fifteen-Winter-old me is different…
I try my best to follow Lumi’s lead, willing my snowflakes to contract into place, but my attempt is pathetic. I’m ridiculously hazy. My snowflakes just won’t pack together tightly enough, giving my human form the effect of being out of focus. Why did I refuse to learn when Olwen tried to teach me? I tuck myself a few inches behind Lumi as we approach our prey from the end of the street.
In the distance, above the rooftops, I catch a glimpse of my other sisters circling down towards their first feed across town: two inseparable swirls of white against the striking pink of the sunrise sky.
‘It’s a shame it’s always them and us,’ I say.
‘You can’t fight nature, Sis. We have our bond. They have theirs.’