Armstrong’s own Loretta M. McKee recently achieved a remarkable milestone as she released her self-published novel, “The Sun and the Shrub, Book 1: The Quest for Faith,” the first of three books in a harrowing trilogy.
The novel is set in a mystical kingdom called Terra, a world ruled by a benevolent monarch named Emperor Abba, who is forced to deal with the traitorous acts of his servant Malum, who brings a plague upon the hearts of the citizens of Terra with a wicked curse.
“The Quest for Faith” follows its young, timid heroine named Laurel as she embarks on an epic adventure to restore peace to the land of Terra and drive out the evil of Malum’s curse.
Laurel finds like-minded companions in King Sol and the Knights of Terra in her search for the Jewel of Faith. Her quest quickly becomes a journey to find faith in her new friends, and most importantly in herself as a heroine.
McKee describes her main character, Laurel, as a woman “brimming with raw potential;” one who faces inner adversities, battling fears, insecurities and uncertainties about herself and her worth.
McKee hopes her work will inspire young maidens, like her heroine Laurel, to always keep faith in the truth, continue to hope through the darkness, and find the strength to get on their feet and face their fears.
“(Laurel) does not think much of herself at first,” McKee explained, “but through many and enduring adversities, she realizes the truth of her character: she is, indeed, heroic.”
McKee, a junior Nursing major, gives credit for her inspiration to her father, Euie Mckee, who encouraged her to write after years of witnessing her constant frustrations with the ending of movies or books.
“One day, he said to me, ‘Loretta, why don’t you write your own story, then?’” McKee recalled, “And so that was just what I did!”
McKee began creating the fictional world of Terra in her sophomore year of high school, originally only intending for it to become one novel. Building the world of Terra required extensive research: from the meanings behind each character’s name and weapon choice to deciding the types of trees found in each forest and the animals that live in each tree.
“As I pursued the idea of making up my own world, characters and adventures, the story became a whole trilogy,” McKee said. “Now, after almost four years, Book 1: The Quest for Faith is published on Lulu.com.”
McKee decided to self-publish her trilogy after searching unsuccessfully for a fair publishing company that wouldn’t charge excessive review fees. With help from her father, McKee searched for a solution and finally found Lulu.com, an online self-publishing company that allows authors to set their own royalties, control the publishing process, and only charges to cover the cost of printing.
To experience the fantasy and adventure of Laurel’s quest through the land of Terra, “The Sun and the Shrub- Book 1: The Quest for Faith” can be found at Lulu.com.