Sylvan resident releases youth novel

A Central Alberta author has seen a long-held dream come true with the publication of her first book.

Sylvan Lake resident Shawna Moore is thrilled to see The House of Dreams become a finished project — one that was originally conceived about 10 years ago.

“It was a pretty phenomenal feeling,” she recalls of seeing actual copies of the brand new book. “Because for so many years I kept say I will do this, but it wasn’t really tangible.

“But I think the most exciting part was when I sent the final version away. They then sent me a note that it was off to the publishers, and I think that was the most exciting part — knowing it was actually going to be published.”

Moore says she always had an interest in writing, although it didn’t transfer into her career plans years back. By trade, she’s worked as a high school teacher in B.C. and Alberta and is now a registered nurse in Sylvan Lake.

But that inkling to write was always there. And about nine years ago, she had three months between jobs and knew it was time to put her ideas down.

“I got a fair bit done in those three months, but then life takes over,” she says with a laugh during a recent chat. “It’s a mystery and an adventure, with a supernatural take to it.”

Moore indeed is able to construct a brisk and compelling tale for the younger set. Images come easily to mind of the scenes she describes – a testament to her ability to create an imaginative, new world. Her ability to describe details from a 15-year-old’s perspective is also impressive. The writing flows naturally, gathering a steady momentum through to the book’s final portions.

Interestingly, the project sat idle on and off over the years, but ideas and inspiration continued to flourish. “My kids kept pressuring me asking me when I was going to finish the book. My oldest son read it through the whole process and got to see it from its inception to when I finally got it published.”

The House of Dreams focuses on a 15-year-old girl by the name of Jesse Fuller.

“She’s a city girl who moves to a really small town, so there are a lot of changes in her life. They end up in this home where she has these unusual dreams, and her brother is having the exact same dream.”

Jesse soon learns from the other kids in her class that the house she lives in has something of a mysterious past. From that point, she starts to dig a bit deeper into the history of the house to understand why she’s having these dreams.

Interestingly, she also learns her family history may be connected to the situation as well. As the dust cover description concludes, “She finds herself on a desperate quest for a talisman that she believes will help her escape the dreams and forget what she knows about the house.”

Although it took several years to wrap up, Moore, who is originally from Vancouver Island, said the time spent creating the novel was a rich process to help her flesh out the characters and build a setting which enhances the plot as it unfolds.

She describes the book, published by iUniverse which is based in Bloomington, Indiana, as one that’s targeted to those in the 12 to 15-year-old age group.

She also recalls the writing process as coming quite naturally, but she didn’t follow a structured routine. Ideas surfaced now and then – even in the middle of the night – and she would quickly write them down for later consideration.

“It really was a process, because when I started it was just an idea. Then I started thinking about her doing this and doing that. And that was the starting point.”

The setting is also based on a small southern Alberta town, so that sense of realism is that much more powerful. Ultimately, writing has provided Moore with a wonderful creative outlet.

“It’s about creating a new world. That world is very much a part of me; it’s very personal and there are aspects of the main character that are me; and me when I was young.”

The House of Dreams is available online on the Indigo and Barnes & Noble web sites. It can also be ordered directly from the publisher — iUniverse at

Just Posted

WATCH: Lacombe and Red Deer Chambers prepare members for cannabis legalization

Luncheon speaker educates businesses on marijuana policies

Crime statistics released for final quarter of 2017

December of 2017 showed no hike in break and enters and a notable drop in theft of vehicles compared to December of 2016

UPDATE: Highway 2 lanes were closed due to milk truck fire near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

James Barker Band is ‘Game On’

Country group heads to Red Deer this month

UPDATED: Red Deer will officially be the home of the Canadian Finals Rodeo

CFR has potential to bring in an economic impact of $20-30 million

WATCH: Red Deer Entertainment Awards honours Red Deer’s burgeoning talent

The awards looks to become more inclusive of the entire entertainment scene in year three

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Heritage Minister wants zero tolerance for harassment in entertainment industry

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly had two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds

Newly freed Diab wants reforms to Canada’s ‘lousy’ extradition law

French authorities dropped terrorism charges against Hassan Diab who was suspected of taking part in an attack in Paris in 1980

Russia probes come up against claims of executive privilege

The argument was laid bare this week during Steve Bannon’s interview with the House Intelligence Committee.

Most Read