Hayley Barr is almost ready to publish her second novel - aged just 25

PERSISTENCE PAYS: Hayley Barr with her first novel, Fate's Call. Ms Barr spent the past decade writing and refining her book, before it was finally published. Picture: Sylvia Liber.
PERSISTENCE PAYS: Hayley Barr with her first novel, Fate's Call. Ms Barr spent the past decade writing and refining her book, before it was finally published. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

Many people talk about writing a book - Hayley Barr talks about writing a series.

The persistent 25-year-old published the first book in her planned six-part Shadowland Chronicles when she was 23, although she'd written it years before.

"I think I re-wrote the manuscript about six times," she said.

"I was still in high school, I didn't know much about the industry and I'd second-guess myself a lot.

"It was hard to ignore that voice, and not let the overthinking and second-guessing get in the way."

Ms Barr had to push through a number of setbacks before she was able to self-publish her book.

The first publishing company she approached went into voluntary liquidation, and the money her parents had contributed to her dream was lost.

Ms Barr saved up for a second attempt, only to lose her hard-earned cash to a fraudulent company.

"It really hit my confidence," she said.

"I struggled to trust anything after that, and I had to start from scratch."

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Fortunately, a friend had success with American company Lulu.com, and Ms Barr decided to give her book one last chance.

The first book in her series - Fate's Call - was released two years ago, and the second is due to follow.

"I've completed book two, and I'm about to complete book three," she said.

It really hit my confidence, and I struggled to trust anything

Hayley Barr

"I've begun book four, but my priority is to get book two polished up."

The Shadowland Chronicles follow a 16-year-old protagonist on a journey of self discovery.

The series is set in Australia, particularly on the NSW Far South Coast, where Ms Barr spent a lot of time holidaying with family as a child.

While the towns, like Pambula and Bombala, are real, in the series they contain a hidden magical world.

As Ms Barr's protagonist has grown, so has she.

Ms Barr struggled with anxiety when she was younger. The idea of speaking in front of others was daunting.

Through writing, she found her voice.

"I was blessed to receive a lot of good feedback after we released the first book," she said.

"I can see where my writing style has grown since and that was a good confidence boost for me.

"I was invited to speak at my old high school, and that was a big thing for me as well - it was something I never could have done while I was in school."

Quest Books at Figtree Grove near Wollongong on NSW's South Coast has agreed to stock Fate's Call, and Ms Barr plans to host a launch in store.

She also hopes to take the book on a tour of the towns it's set in, as a way to give back to communities hit hard by fire and COVID-19.

Ms Barr is in her final year of university, and said while she has a lot on her plate, the hard work is worth it to bring her stories to life.

"When I began writing, I could see myself doing it for the rest of my life," she said.

"When I was younger a lot of authors had an impact on my life and I wanted to do that for other people.

"Sometimes there are a lot of hurdles, but if you can push a little longer, it's worth it."

This story At just 25 years old Hayley Barr is almost ready to publish her second novel first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.