Marsha Irving, a Canadian-born author who called the Kootenays home throughout her childhood, officially released her first novel in November titled Nova’s Quest for the Enchanted Chalice.
The fantasy novel, which Irving describes as “Harry Potter style” is set in recognizable locations including Creston and Castlegar.
Geared towards young adults, the story touches on issues including political corruption, a virus, and social media bias.
“It’s about a young boy who starts to find out that there are weird things about him,” said Irving. “He lives in a terrible government that is quite oppressive but the people don’t see it that way because it’s masked in this veil of fun, social media, and technology.”
Despite the novel having a number of otherworldly, whimsical aspects including unicorns, trolls and wizards, Irving said that it also explores issues pertinent to life in 2020. “The deeper messages are around making sure that you’re aware of the political situation you’re in, and making sure that you’re thinking about the dynamics between the good things and bad things in your world,” said Irving.
Inspiration for the novel came from the late Creston author, Dave Perrin, who encouraged Irving to put pen to paper.
Much of the novel’s imagery however came from Irving’s experience watching Comet Hale-Bopp as a child.
“(The comet) was just so beautiful and I remember thinking that there are so many bigger things to life than us – it’s always stuck with me, and parts of the story revolve around that image.”
Following a difficult battle with COVID-19, which not only left Irving with a greater appreciation for life but also ample free time, the budding author was compelled to complete her novel this year.
“The message of my story is that we can have hope,” said Irving.
“Search for silver linings, be ambitious, search for miracles.”