Author quits job to promote first book
November 8, 2006
In another planet far, far away, a culture struggles with challenges similar to our own.
No, this isn’t Star Wars, but a more peculiar work by a local author.
The imagination of a nine-year-old is still the driving force behind Shytei Corellian’s writing. That’s when she started and now her 27-year literary labor has come to fruition.
At age 36, she published her first novel last May and it’s liberating.
"You know, it’s a feeling of now is the time, it never felt like that before. Now is the time," Corellian said.
She’s so convinced that "now is the time" that she quit her job to promote her book, "Merehr."
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"I actually just sold my condo and now I’m hitting the road," Corellian said. "And it feels really good."
Ten years ago, she started sending queries to publishing companies. It was all for naught. She continued to get letters that read, "not accepting new authors" or "wrong genre." Tired of rejections, the six-year resident took it upon herself to publish her work.
"So about a year ago, I copyrighted my own stuff and independently published everything. Not long ago, that wasn’t an option. ‘The Celestine Prophecy’ and ‘Aragon’ started out the same way and were published independently and then bigger publishers took a look," Corellian said.
She hopes her book finds similar success.
"It’s like a rock band in the beginning," Corellian said.
Corellian also wanted to be in control of her material and not owned by a corporation. When talking with publishers, she left unsatisfied, even if they were interested.
"They could rename it and tell me what to write," she said. "I’d walk away from it and wonder if I’d basically sell it away and have no control over it."
She found a company that will help writers like her and she went with it.
"I get to keep all the rights and have the final say. It either sinks or swims with me," Corellian said.
Corellian also thinks a reason for a publisher to not accept the book is because there is no clear-cut genre.
"Mine’s a little hard to classify because it’s fiction, but not necessarily fantasy like dragons and elves, but it does take place on another world. They just didn’t know what to do with it," Corellian said. "They couldn’t put it under sci-fi or Tolkien stuff either."
Her book starts in the middle of a planned trilogy taken place on the mountainous planet called "Merehr." The story follows two brothers who struggle between a prophecy and war.
"It revolves around the whole ancient prophecies that a great prophet will come," Corellian said
The main protagonist, Wing, is believed to be a great savior. Wing, however, doesn’t want to accept society’s label and struggles to balance the prophecy and finding his meaning in life.
"He is caught in being true to himself and being what his people want him to be," Corellian said. "He basically rejects everything they want from him."
Corellian said she had no agenda when writing the book, but, there are many poignant messages gleaned from her tale. Messages of hope, anti-racism, and politics familiar of the day can be interpreted.
"You can pull almost anything you want out of it," Corellian said.
As Wing’s people don’t care about the issues of the world, they find themselves in a battle for their lives against another race. On the back cover of her book, it quotes a character saying, " somewhere between the choices we make and the seeds of our destiny lies the truth of what our world is to become "
Readers can learn from the lessons character’s experiences.
"They find out they need to have more of a global mentality," Corellian said. "They are afraid of the outside world.
"We are never apart from each other. We are still sharing the same planet. That ends up being their demise."
In a meditative experience for Wing, he is standing in a large city and asking himself "Who am I," its something, Corellian says we all have to ask ourselves. Corellian said everyone has to ask himself "Which voice is mine? Who am I outside of state and religion? Do I be true to my own voice or somebody else’s?"
Aside from the cultural lessons, there is also an underlying theme of building strong relationships
"It’s more of a story of brotherhood and their love," Corellian said.
Corellian wrote the first 200 pages when she was 16.
"It was a long time before I ever knew how it ended," she said. "It wasn’t until I moved here to Park City that I was actually able to finish it."
Part of what inhibits her from finishing stories is her perfectionism
"I would torture myself," she said. "I would sit like a gargoyle and mull over a paragraph."
She explains her writing as thinking back and recalling memories.
"It’s almost like remembering stuff when you are a little kid and it kind of comes in pieces," she said.
In writing "Merehr" Corellian said she envisioned a man walking in a valley "and I remembered him and I just wrote it down as it came."
In a sense, the characters become real for her.
"I really feel these people," she said. "It’s like I remember them and I tell their story and I’m keeping their integrity of their story intact."
Sometimes, she thinks "that’s not how it really happened." So she is forced to change her story based on what her characters would "really" do. The characters however, don’t always cooperate with Corellian.
"They come kind of come in their own time, when they are ready, they are ready. This was the first to find an end," she said.
Writing has been her life-long passion and she hopes she can continue it.
"I’ve written my whole life," Corellian said. "I just see images in my brain and I just start writing. As a kid I was just in my room and was writing as fast as I could. I’ve been doing it since I was a fetus."
For more information on Corellian’s book, log on to http://www.authorhouse.com, http://www.amazon.com or http://www.barnesandnoble.com. There will also be links to all of these through http://www.merehr.com.