A TEESSIDE University graduate and owner of a thriving independent book shop is celebrating the release of her debut novel.

Jenna Warren graduated with a MA Creative Writing in 2008 and owns The Book Corner, an independent bookshop in Saltburn which, last year, made it into the Guardian’s top 10 list of Britain’s best independent bookshops.

She is now set to see her debut contemporary fiction novel ‘The Moon and Stars’ published, with pre-orders now available. 'The Moon and Stars' draws on Jenna’s passion for musical theatre and is tinged with a touch of romance.

She said: "I wanted to write a book loosely inspired by 'The Phantom of the Opera', which is my favourite story, but I wanted it to be in a different genre to the original, so not a Gothic novel. I hope I've written something character-driven and uplifting which people will relate to.

"The story follows Matthew, a classically trained singer. Unfortunately, he suffers from low self-esteem and chronic stage fright. He's desperate to perform again, so he sings in the shadows while his handsome friend, Ralph, takes to the stage. This plan has the potential to go very wrong, which it does.

"The story generally centres around Matthew's journey towards self-acceptance."

Jenna graduated from Teesside with an MA Creative Writing and reflects positively on her time at university.

She added: “My lecturers showed so much enthusiasm, and offered constant support and encouragement throughout my studies. They really opened my eyes and showed me there’s lots going on for writers in the area.”

Jenna has already started work on her next project, adding: "I have a few ideas for future books. I'm currently working on another novel about music and performers. In a similar vein to 'The Moon and Stars', it's contemporary and character-driven, but there's an element of folklore in it too. I'm still writing the first draft, so I'm excited to see where it goes."

The Moon and Stars is published by Fairlight Books and is available for pre orders now with a release date of 20 October.

More about studying MA Creative Writing at Teesside University - www.tees.ac.uk/postgraduate_courses/English_&_Creative_Writing/MA_Creative_Writing.cfm.

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