Library event launches hometown author’s first novel

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BELMAR – As a young child, local author Sam Lyatt loved playing in the woods and going fishing on the local lakes. When not soaking up the sun or hitting the waves, she also enjoyed writing short stories and one day hoped to combine both.

Her dream became a reality Saturday when the Belmar Public Library hosted a book launch for Ms. Lyatt’s first novel “Higgins the Pacificator,” a young adult fantasy novel that takes readers on a nautical adventure, combining the wonders of the oceans, sailing and mythology.

“I am really excited to share the book,” Ms. Lyatt said. “There are a lot of people who don’t live anywhere near the coast or near the water so through the book I try to encourage young readers to get their feet wet, learn a little bit about a sailboat, learn about the ocean and I hope the readers enjoy it.

“It is a young adult fantasy book. There’s mythological beasts, sword fighting, lots of talk about astronomy and following the stars across the ocean, so I hope to make it educational as well.”

Ms. Lyatt is no stranger to an ocean adventure. Aside from holding a master’s degree in ocean engineering, in college she competitively sailed as Commodore of the sailing club and spent time as well refurbishing old sailboats, canoes and fishing boats.

“I grew up loving to write,” she said. “When I was younger I would try writing books. I also hung out at the lake, went exploring in the woods and would express that in my writing in high school and college on the side.

“When I graduated college I was looking for a book to read, something with sailing, and I couldn’t find the one I was looking for so I just started writing it. The first draft took around six months and from there I had a few family and friends read the book, critique it. Getting a publisher took a few months as well so from the day I started writing it until the day it was published it has taken about a year and a couple months.

“I was really anxious. I didn’t know if it was going to turn into a … so I am really excited.”

On the lawn of the public library on 10th Avenue, dozens of family, friends and community members came out to share their congratulations and get their personal signed copy of “Higgins the Pacificator.”

“We are all extremely proud,” Sue Adornati, Ms. Lyatt’s mom said. “She just persevered. She went through it, she wrote it and it was hard getting rejections but she knew she just had to keep on pushing on and we are so extremely proud of her.

“She has a small boat and has always loved sailing, so that was an interest and the books she was looking at … she didn’t really want that so that is why she decided to write something on her own. She works full time but she found the time to write this so I give her a lot of credit.”

For more on this story, read next week's edition of The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.