Great Yarmouth teen’s novel idea lands book deal

LOUIS Harman found his attention wandering when he was supposed to be revising for GCSEs at Great Yarmouth High School.

But instead of watching TV or inventing chores around the house to procrastinate, Louis - now 19 - started to write a science fiction novel.

The plasterer's son continued writing while at sixth form college in Gorleston, and was delighted to land a publishing deal the summer that he sat his A Levels.

He was the first in his family to go to university, and spent his freshers year dealing with literary agents at London-based Austin & Macauley.

Now - after what he said seemed like an eternity - his debut novel 'Unison' is complete and went on sale in bookshops across the country today.

Louis, of Caister Road, said it had been a whirlwind year since he landed the contract in June 2011, but he is keeping his feet firmly on the floor.

'I did a little talk at my old school and the first thing the students asked was 'if you're having a book published, why are you going to uni?',' he said. 'But unless you're JK Rowling it doesn't work like that.

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'It's always been a hobby and I didn't write with the purpose of being published.'

He is currently studying law at the University of Lincoln and is spending the summer working at law firm England and Co, on the quay.

His mum Tracy works at a school, his dad Glen owns a plastering firm and Louis enjoys spending his time playing computer games.

And Louis said the premise for Unison was not influenced by Yarmouth or his surroundings.

'It's kind of a good versus evil story line, but with religious aspects,' he explained. 'I originally had written one action scene with no story to it.

'I just got a note pad and sat in the garden and started drawing and writing words I thought were relevant to the idea. I threw them together into a story and included the first random chapter into it.

'I've still got the note pad at uni, full of ideas and names - I just thought about things that interest me and that's how it became a story.'

A blurb for the book says humanity is expanding to an empire of colonies among the stars when it discovers it is not alone.

An angelic race known as the Hierarchy has watched creation since time began, and humanity joins them in an ancient war against its satanic enemies.

Protagonist Jason Rider, who works under Unison's space program, is a 'nobody hacker' but becomes 'a monumental figure in the war between good and evil'.

Louis said he had finished the book when he secured the publishing deal, has nearly completed its sequel 'Unison: Ark' - 80,000 words and counting - and is dabbling with a third to complete the trilogy.

And he is nervous as to how Unison will be received as it has been his life since he was 16.

'I'm quite worried in case everybody hates it, especially as I know so many of my friends have pre-ordered it,' he revealed. 'I love the story as it's always in my head, but it would be nice if people like it.'

He is keeping tabs on orders for the books online, and so far copies have been snapped up as far afield as America, Dubai and Australia.

His mum Tracy said: 'We are over the moon but it's not really a surprise with Louis - he has been reading since he was a baby.

'Before he could write he would grab whatever magazine was around. We're all really proud.'

And dad Glen, who has read the manuscript of the sequel, said: 'It's even better than the first - watch this space.'

Unison, published by Austin & Macauley, is released today priced at �9.99.

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