Young author MJ Woodman is releasing her debut novel, Divine, on May 21, and amazingly she had to battle severe Covid whilst publishing the book herself.
Incredibly, the 20-year-old first wrote her epic alternative-history novel at the ripe age of just 13, as she was inspired by classics and ancient history – before re-visiting her manuscript years later whilst finishing her A Levels.
And she managed to stay organised, because she was able to work on her story alongside her studies at secondary school.
But things took a turn for the worse when the up-and-coming author was diagnosed with a severe case of Covid-19 – a life-threatening situation.
The main symptoms of Covid are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, symptoms can range from mild to severe.
But in the case of severe Covid, patients can get pneumonia, which is inflammation of the lungs due to infection, and their breathing can become dangerously affected.
And author MJ was able to battle through the hellish symptoms of her severe Covid to self-publish her first book, Divine.
Her book, Divine, is set in a reality where the Roman Empire never fell, and the present-day world has been ripped apart by a mythical war and divided into five imperial states.
In the book, we're introduced to Appia – real-world North America – and the fortressed states are shielded by an invisible forcefield to protect inhabitants from the outside world.
The action-packed book follows female protagonist Electa Steel – who has lived in Haven all her life but finds her world under threat when she is chosen by the annual Choosing – forcing her to live in her society for the rest of her days – and she must compete with five other girls to be Empress of her homeland.
But a mysterious terror organisation also have their eyes on her, and she is forced to enter a game of love, war and politics to protect herself and her land.
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The inspiring author says she's delighted to be published and says it's the "achievement of a lifetime".
She said: "Being as eager as I am, I pushed and pushed for my book to be published and I can honestly say it's an achievement of a lifetime!”
She continued: “As cliché as it may sound, being an author was always a dream of mine. From beginning Divine at the young age of 13 and putting the final touches on it years later, this novel embodies my passion for creative writing and Ancient History, exploring an alternate, modern-day world through a powerful young woman, forced into a journey of self-discovery".
MJ hopes one day to use her platform as an author to engage young people through history, which she believes, is crucial to building a better, brighter future.
She has also dedicated the novel to her grandpa, who inspired her to become the best version herself.
Divine is set to be released on May 21 on Amazon and Apple Books. Click the link here to buy your copy now.
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