SUMMERSIDE — When she thinks that her words could possibly inspire future young writers, C.S. Einfeld is, ironically, at a loss for words.
The Port Hill woman’s book, NeverDark, will soon sit alongside works penned by authors that Einfeld admired as a child.
The fantasy novel for middle-grade readers will be part of the province’s curriculum, with copies in 66 Grade 6 classrooms come this fall.
The fanciful tale she initially pieced together in just 10-weeks is her first novel.
“This is my debut,” she said, with a laugh. “This is a gift book. It just came. It was unexpected.
“I just barfed it out,” Einfeld added, “I really did, I swear."
Einfeld always loved writing, having first put pen to paper at an early age.
But it wasn’t until the former broker and her husband, Aaron, moved to P.E.I. six years ago that she took her passion for writing a step further.
“It kind of took moving here for things to slow down enough that I had the time and the mental energy to actually do it,” she added. “When your brain is tied up on the day-to-day rat-race type of stuff, it just wasn’t going to happen.”
NeverDark was initially intended as a gift, a short story for her brother’s children.
“I had no idea I would ever write for children. I thought I was going to write navel-gazing lit-fic, to be honest,” she quipped. “I wanted to give them something personal and I cannot knit, so I thought, well, why don’t I write them a little fairytale. It originally was supposed to be 15,000, 20,000 words.”
That fairytale would end up being more than 50,000 words.
It was a hit with family and friends, who prompted Einfeld to enter the story into HarperCollins’ Authonomy contest, which NeverDark won for 2009.
The couple then worked with an agent, editing and fine-tuning the manuscript.
Unfortunately, the book was passed up for publication. But that didn’t stop them.
“We had so much positive feedback that we just couldn’t let it die so we put it out as an eBook,” said the author.
Online reviews were favourable and ratings high, leading to the self-publication of NeverDark. The first copy came off the press in April.
“That was awesome,” said Einfeld. “It was surreal.”
NeverDark is the story of Princess Fiera, a fairy about to be married off to the evil Lord Darkwater against her wishes.
To save herself, she sets off with her pet firefly, Sparky — inspired by Einfield’s beloved Pomeranian — on a quest to seek the help of forest sage, Old Mother Oak Tree.
Along the way, Fiera discovers Darkwater’s greed impacts all within her world and she must not only fight to save herself but everyone else.
Aaron illustrated the book and contributed to storylines and character development.
It was through a work friend of Aaron’s that a representative of the Department of Education got involved.
“We were not expecting that call at all,” said the author. “It was quite a surprise.”
The book will be available at all Island school libraries. Einfeld is currently working on a second novel and planning accompanying novels to NeverDark.
She still can’t quite grasp the fact that children across P.E.I. will be reading her book.
“I remember the books that I was reading and feeling at that time. When you think that you are even going to be on the shelf next to them, it is definitely a pinch yourself moment.
“It’s a great feeling.”