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Shuswap author pens fantasy pirate novel 17 years in the making

K.J. Cloutier never gave up on her dream of publishing a book she wanted to read as a teen
K.J. Cloutier holds up a copy of her book Beyond the Horizon, published on Feb. 7 2023, which she has been working on in some iteration since she was 14 years old. (Contributed)

A magical pirate fantasy has landed in the Shuswap to enchant readers of all ages.

Since she was 14 years old, Eagle Bay author K.J. Cloutier has wanted to write Beyond the Horizon. She’s had some form of the same story written since that time and never gave up on her dream of publishing it for the world to read.

Inspired by her love for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the Harry Potter franchise, Cloutier wanted to read something that combined those worlds and elements and at the time couldn’t find any stories like what she imagined.

So, she decided to write one herself.

Beyond the Horizon is a young adult fantasy where the characters are around 17 years old but Cloutier said she wrote it so adults can enjoy it as well. The book features magic, secrets, love stories, pirate ships and fantastic adventure, all things Cloutier has daydreamed about her whole life.

While the story is fictional, Cloutier said there are elements of her life in the book as it’s been with her for half of her years.

“A big one would be, when I was a teenager, my grandmother died suddenly, and that shows up in the book in a couple of characters who are dealing with loss,” said Cloutier.

The journey to a published book from a 14-year-old’s dream was a long one with many interruptions, said Cloutier. Thirty-one now, it wasn’t until her 20s that she picked up the book and seriously began rewriting and editing the story. She said her biggest hurdle was the learning curve, figuring out what she wanted to do with the story and navigating the publishing industry.

Cloutier’s advice for aspiring authors of any age is to never give up.

“Kind of a boring answer, I know, but you have to keep on writing even if you give up the first idea and actually start a new one,” laughed Cloutier. “Most people don’t do what I do, just keep rewriting the same one, but I really believed in my first idea and I wanted to see it out there. The best part was actually holding the physical, finished book in my hands. I’d been dreaming about that for a very long time and it was a surreal moment.”

The book was published on Feb. 7, 2023, and can be purchased at Bookingham Palace in Piccadilly Mall in Salmon Arm, on Amazon, online at Barnes and Noble, and can be ordered through most other bookstores.

On March 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Cloutier will be signing copies of Beyond the Horizon at Bookingham Palace.

“I’m born and raised in Salmon Arm and I used to work at Bookingham, so it’s really special to have my first signing there.”

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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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