Trials of the Realm by Lauren Stabler

Lauren Stabler, who joined us for a recent Hive fiction course, talks about her debut novel written in lockdown….

I wrote my first novel during the second lockdown of 2020 but the idea was born as I was writing my dissertation for the MA. I loved books like The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) and The Testing (Joelle Charnonneau) but I wanted something a little bit older as I myself got older. And so, I wrote Trials of the Realm.

I’m Lauren Stabler, a 29-year-old writer from Sheffield. I studied Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University at both BA and MA levels because this seemed like the best way to pursue my writing passion in a structured way.

I’ve always been an avid reader and spend nearly all of my spare time reading dystopian or fantasy fiction (if I’m not playing Sims 4 that is). My favourite writers are Teri Terry (a UK-based YA Sci-fi author), Lindsey Pogue and Caroline Peckham & Susanne Valenti (sister co-authors).

One of the things I look for when reading is sci-fi or fantasy with the main characters in their 20s. Something between young adult and adult. I’ve found this quite difficult to find and a lot of the books I do read, with characters that fit my preference, are self-published.

This is one of the main reasons I chose to self-publish. There is a strong book community for self-publishing authors, whether that be on Twitter, Facebook or even TikTok. And I’ve found myself welcomed by other authors and they’ve helped me along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go for the route of traditional publishing, but it just wasn’t right for this book. I may head in that direction for one of the next book series I’ve got planned.

Self-publishing also means I’ve got control of what happens in the book, although I do have a fabulous copy-editor Holly Hill Mangin (Fresh as a Daisy Editing) and she really helped push the story to be the best it could be. I also got to choose the cover I wanted and even helped with the ideas for it when my friend Connie May was designing it.

Self-publishing can be harder and more expensive, but if you have the resources it’s definitely a great option for getting your novel out there on your own terms.

When life has stripped you of everything, how hard will you fight to get it back?

Adelaide Taylor’s life is anything but ideal. After losing her parents to the new, tyrannical government, she’s forced to live in an orphanage for women under twenty-five.

While she toils away six days a week at a thankless job, the government systematically destroys the country. Elections are abolished. Borders are closed. The death penalty is reinstated for anyone who dares defy the new world order. All anyone can do is hope they survive.

But Adelaide needs more than hope. She needs a way out.

When new trials are introduced, she jumps at the chance to win a second chance at life. Should she win, she will regain some semblance of a life. But success won’t come easily, and failure will mean death.

Will she escape this brutal life or has her fate already been sealed?

Find out in this adrenaline-rushing sci-fi dystopian novel!
Purchase Trials of the Realm

Lauren Stabler loves to read and explore new worlds. Her active imagination has afforded her many opportunities to create worlds in her head. But when she couldn’t find books that matched the stories, she dreamt up for people her age, she decided it was the perfect opportunity to write her own.

She holds a BA and an MA in Creative Writing from Sheffield Hallam University. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, playing the Sims, her absolute favorite game, or spending time with her long-haired ginger cat, Maisie. She lives at home with her mum and stepdad in Sheffield.