An avid reader has spent most of her life reading fictional books. Now, she has published her own for the world to see.
Seventeen-year-old Lauren Nelley has always dreamed on having her name on a book's front cover. She has recently achieved her dream by publishing her first book and she's already finished the sequel.
Lauren released her novel The Ice Behind the Fire a week ago. She says seeing her book on shelves is 'phenomenal'.
"It's also quite a relief because I've been working on the book for awhile now. It's really awesome that it's out there. I've always dreamed of having my name on the front cover of a book."
Lauren self-published her book using PublishMe from New Plymouth.
"I have been communicating with them since May. They were very supportive and helped me a lot, especially with understanding the format of publishing. Self publishing was the best option for me. I wanted to stay local to start off with."
Her book follows the story of 17-year-old Mack and her friends who try to save their town from a corrupt government.
She says the idea of her novel was inspired by years of reading fictional books.
"I'm an avid reader. I really love dystopian and fantasy books. This really helped with the process and made it easier as I understood how the genres work."
Her favourite book series include Divergent, the Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
"I read the first Divergent book in half a day. I get so consumed by stories, I love seeing what other authors can come up with."
Lauren first started working on the book when she was 15, while attending Hāwera High School.
"I first came up with the main characters' names and ages and I started writing from there. I wrote the first book in three and-a-half months. Two weeks after I finished the first I started on the second. I've been working on it since then and officially completed it in January. I'm waiting to see how the first book is received before I publish the second."
Once she finished the first book, she gave drafts to her teachers, she says.
"When I received their feedback I edited the book. My biggest edit was adding 11,000 words."
Lauren, who is now a Year 13 student at Hāwera High School, plays netball and looks after her horse.
"For the past three years I would have two netball practices each week as well as a game on a week night. When your passionate about something you find the time to do it, it's the same as reading I get so consumed by it."
She says she is pleased with the level of support she has received.
"So many people from school have walked up to me and congratulated me. My friends, school teachers and parents have supported me every step of the way."
She says she is 'overwhelmed' by the positive feedback she has received.
"People have really connected with the characters and it's great to see them connect like I have. The main characters are based off me and my best friend. I love the characters. I feel bonded with them because I've put a lot of time into writing about them."
■ Lauren's book is available from Hāwera Paper Plus. Alternatively, people can message @laurennelley on Instagram to purchase the book.
Win: The Stratford Press has a copy of Lauren's book to giveaway. To enter the draw, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a name, address and contact phone number. Alternatively give the team a call on 06 969 4021. Entries close Wednesday November 25 and the winner will be contacted that day.