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Thriller first in author’s trilogy

GDN Online Desk
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A QATAR-based author is set to bring her novel The Burning of Juniper Slaide to readers in Bahrain this month.

Originally from the UK, Johanna Handley will host a book signing at Words Bookstore and Café in Budaiya on March 11.

The Burning of Juniper Slaide is a young adult thriller that Ms Handley says “is for anyone over the age of 14”.

“It’s the story of a seventeen-year-old girl called Juniper Slaide, who is the sole survivor of an arson attack that destroyed her home and killed her family,” said Ms Handley, who published the novel in September.

“Nine years later, she’s worked hard at putting the past behind her, but one day, her best friend James goes missing.

“She starts investigating his disappearance, but the further she delves into the mystery, the more she begins to realise that James wasn’t who she thought he was.

“And the worst thing is she discovers that his disappearance is connected to her somehow, and to what happened to her family all those years ago.”

This is the first instalment of a trilogy and Ms Handley’s first full-length novel.

“I have had some short stories and poems published prior to this,” she explained.

“The Burning of Juniper Slaide is the first in a trilogy and I’m busy writing the second novel – The Embers of Juniper Slaide – at the moment.

“I have also finished another full-length novel which will be published later this year, and a children’s book, which should be out this month.”

Her book was published by UK-based Rudling House, who she says ‘signed her up to write a trilogy straight away’.

“I was always very clear in that I wanted a traditional publishing contract as opposed to self-publishing,” she said.

“There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing of course, it just wasn’t part of my plan.

“But getting traditionally published is really hard.

“It took two years to write the novel itself (and rewrite it at least 25 times) and then another two years and several rejection letters to finally get a publishing deal.”

After a 15-year career in marketing, Ms Handley rediscovered her passion for writing when she stumbled upon old diaries.

“I had one of those life-changing moments and decided to give up work and embark on a new career,” she added.

“I now write full-time and have never looked back.”

The Burning of Juniper Slaide is available at Words Bookstore Café for BD5 and the book signing on March 11 will begin at noon.

The book is also available on and for both kindle and paperback versions.