Local author launches debut novel

Achieving at the age of 23 what many aspiring writers only dream of, Sam Banfield celebrated the release of his debut novel, Mystic Dawn, with his first book signing on Dec. 7.

Surrounded by family, friends and members of the local community, Banfield hosted a dinner at Tony Roma’s restaurant in northeast Calgary to meet fans and discuss plans for the future of Mystic Dawn.

“It’s crazy!” Banfield said. “I can’t believe after all this time I’m here and doing this.”

The Ontario-born author dropped out of high school just shy of his graduation to focus full-time on his story.

Banfield credits his success to the support of his family and to the law of attraction – a philosophy that features prominently in the fantasy novel.

“I believe that if you think about positive things, that if you work hard to surround yourself with positivity, you’ll attract positive people and experiences,” he said. “The universe wants to give you that.”

Eight years in the making, the novel compares to the Twilight Saga or the Harry Potter series in its style and content, but places heavy emphasis on the spiritual development of its characters. Banfield said the novel draws from his own experience with overcoming personal struggle during his teen years.

Though he plans to expand the series, his focus for now is on the expansion of Mystic Dawn’s release base.

“You have to know how to sell yourself,” he said “It’s way more work than writing, or even publishing. That’s the fun part.”

Self-publishing was the obvious choice for him, but even that process won’t guarantee your novel on a bookstore shelf, Banfield said.

“Royalty publishing, it takes too long. It takes two to four weeks for the agent to even get back to you, so I went with self-publishing,” he said, adding that even without an agent, someone still needs to take on the task of setting and printing your work.

“In the 21st century, it’s all digital, it’s all e-mail. You send an attachment. If they ask you to send a hardcopy, don’t do it,” Banfield warned. “It’s a waste of money, first of all, and the chances of you getting it, well, they’re gonna toss it.”

You have to know how to sell yourself. – Sam Banfield

He found Balboa Press by chance when he realized that Esther Hicks, an author writing about the law of attraction, had also published through them, he said.

“I was looking up self-publishing companies, and I saw Balboa, and I thought, ‘Oh my god, that’s the same publisher [that Hicks used].’ So I said ‘let’s do it.’”

Now that the publishing process is complete, Banfield said he wants to expand to Barnes & Noble in the United States and plans to travel to New York to meet with agents in person, if the initial reaction is positive.

Distribution of Mystic Dawn by Chapters bookstores in Calgary has been confirmed – readers can pick up a copy now, or they can wait to purchase signed copies from Banfield, who will be making a tour of local chains in January.

About Michael Sherman 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Michael Sherman worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2015-16 academic year.