Rotterdam-native Patricia Boyle was always drawn to books with rich fantasy worlds.
Now she’s created her own with “Traitor in the Realm,” a recently released young adult book and her debut novel.
The 1971 Schalmont High School graduate studied science and math education at Cornell, and went on to attend SUNY Albany for her master’s degree. She spent many years teaching and researching, most of it on the west coast, where she’s lived for the past few decades.
While her career has focused on the sciences, her love of books, which started when she was a child, hasn’t subsided.
“I read a lot when I was a kid. I probably read a book a day as I was growing up, not all high-quality literature, but I loved to read. I’d read everything, newspapers, cereal boxes, stories, [etc],” Boyle said.
A few years before retiring in 2015, she started writing poetry and mapping out a story. She joined the California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch, a nonprofit that fosters professional writers.
“It took a number of years . . . to switch from writing non-fiction to fiction because I also write articles for a local symphony for our local newspapers. So I had experience in nonfiction writing but I needed to learn how to write fiction. That was quite a process,” Boyle said.
The story follows teen artist Kallan MacKinnon and her foster brother, Matthew Webbe, who meet twins their own age in a new world known as Kylemore, where magical beings and prehistoric creatures coexist. Kallan and Matthew must balance their desire to return home and reach the gateway back to Earth before it closes forever with a call to rescue a medieval kingdom from destruction.
While much of the book takes place in another realm, the story starts out in the Adirondacks, where Boyle took many family trips growing up.
“When I grew up we did a lot of camping. We camped every summer. We’d go to Sacandaga Lake and then we’d go to a different lake each summer that was in the Adirondacks. Raquette Lake or Piseco Lake. One thing I missed the most when we moved to California were the Eastern deciduous forests. I love the redwood forests in California, but there’s nothing quite like the forests back here,” Boyle said.
Creating the world of Kylemore was challenging, especially creating a rich landscape.
“I wanted it to be a place where people lived together, to be together and so in the book, there are different races of creatures. There are humans that are quite close to us. There are wood elves, there are dragons,” Boyle said. “It’s not a utopia but there are lots of different people who exist together, usually in relative peace. Then there are prehistoric creatures. So the concept is that it’s the next world over from earth. It started out like earth but evolution went a different way so there are some species that exist on earth that still exist there too.”
“Traitor in the Realm” was released in paperback by Russian Hill Press on January 19. The hardcover edition will be available starting Monday. So far, Boyle said it’s spent several weeks in the number one spot on Amazon’s best of new releases in teen and young adult alternative family fiction list.
“It’s so much fun to be able to share the story with others. I worked on it for a long time and I talked about it a little bit with friends but to be able to have them read, or people I don’t even know, or former students or whoever, to have them just enjoy the story, that was a really good feeling. That was the point of it. Being able to share the story with other people,” Boyle said.
While she didn’t write the book during the pandemic, it’s a timely one nonetheless.
“I think in this time we’ve been isolated for so long. It’s a story that takes place where there’s a lot more isolation than we’re used to because it’s a medieval period yet within it there are people that join together and work together and support each other. They don’t always succeed but they’re challenged and they have to decide what they’re going to do just like each of us have to decide how we want to approach life and how we can support others. It wasn’t written for this time but I think it’s a good message for this time,” Boyle said.
“Traitor in the Realm” is available on Amazon and to order through local bookstores, Barnes and Noble, and Walmart.com. For more information about Patricia J. Boyle and her writing, visit her website, patriciajboyle.com.