Meet Shyra - Area author pens fantasy novels
Shyra's not your average princess.
Unlike those of fairy tales, this damsel enjoys the distress, and area author Joe Naff offers plenty opportunities for just that.
"The Chronicles of Shyra" is a series of fantasy novels written by Naff, 25, a part-time creative writing student at Appalachian State University, who just released the series' second volume, "The Sin of the Phoenix" on Oct. 23.
A resident of Boone since the age of 8, schooled at Hardin Park and Watauga High, Naff's always enjoyed a penchant for storytelling. When an attempt at screenwriting proved less than desirable, he felt a novel could better express his ideas.
"The Chronicles of Shyra," he said, is written in the same spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic "The Lord of the Rings," though geared toward young adults. The story's heroine and primary protagonist is Shyra, princess of Sorenia. Foregoing the typical princess mold made most popular through Disney's animated features, Naff developed Shyra to represent the non-cliched side of those characters - more independent and somewhat of a tomboy, loathing the royal treatment to instead seek adventure through hunting and trekking.
"So, it makes for some quirky times at home," Naff said, "but when she's thrown out into the real world, she adapts rather well, because that's what she's always wanted."
She gains this opportunity by rite of passage, a royal tradition in which heirs to the throne, upon reaching 17, must journey into the world, learning life experiences to fulfill themselves as adults. It's a time Shyra's anticipated as long as she can remember.
"As she grew older, she realizes it's not as grand as was told," Naff said. "The journey's done with carriage rides and guards surrounding her at all times. It's the day she's been looking forward to her whole life, but now she couldn't care less."
Humoring her father, Shyra grudgingly embarks on her mandatory journey. On the second day, her convoy is attacked, and she and Gaiden, her best friend, escape to continue their adventure.
It turns out the attackers hail from the neighboring kingdom of Desia, longtime enemies of Sorenia, both of whom have been clashing over possession of the legendary Stone of Time, a mystical relic said to stop time for whoever wields it.
When news of the attack reaches Sorenia, fingers are pointed from both sides, and war seems inevitable, until Shyra and Gaiden meet Rokku, a prince of Desia, who becomes a fast friend.
They decide to seek out the stone themselves and quell the rising conflict once and for all. Their quest takes them across the world to places strange and wonderful, which Naff plans to demonstrate over the course of five novels.
He wrote the first draft of the introductory novel, "The Stone of Time," over the course of five years. After switching majors from business to English, Naff started editing the novel considerably, resulting in a product he's proud to call his own.
"It's always been a genre I loved," Naff admitted. "I'd play the Final Fantasy (video) games and made a goal for myself to create something like this - an entire world, a society and its religion. I came up with the story idea, the story idea became a novel, and the novel is becoming a series."
He completed "The Sin of the Phoenix" in 10 months, and plans to begin the third novel, "Army of Angels," early next year.
"The Chronicles of Shyra" series is available through Naff's own publishing company, Moonwing Media, online at http://www.moonwingmedia.com, as well as Dancing Moon Earthway Bookstore in downtown Boone and Black Bear Books on Blowing Rock Road.
For more information, visit http://www.moonwingmedia.com.