Author back in Horsham to sign copies of debut novel this weekend

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Author Maté Jarai will be signing copies of his debut novel In the Panther’s Wake at Waterstones, Horsham, on September 26 (11am).

The book has been released through independent publishers The Booksmith.

Maté said he was really excited about a home-town signing: “I grew up in Southwater and then Horsham, attending Southwater Junior School, Tanbridge and then Collyers College in Horsham.”

Maté is currently at University in Southampton where he is studying for a PhD in creative writing after completing a BA in English and film.

“In the Panther’s Wake stemmed from an idea I had while studying a MA in creative writing at Southampton University. I wrote the opening of the novel for a university assignment, and it was my fellow students who encouraged me to turn the idea into a full novel.

“So once I completed my MA in 2012 I started writing it. I completed it in early 2013 but was unable to find an agent for around a year. I got some great feedback about my writing but was told the market for this type of book just wasn’t there. However, I was determined to get it published because it was a story I really believed in.

“Finally in spring 2014 I turned towards independent publishers and found a home soon after, with The Booksmith. After six months of waiting and a final rewrite the book was released online in December 2014. It’s available in paperback and ebook formats on many online sellers such as, and Barnes & Noble, as well as lots of the online independent booksellers.

“The novel itself is a young adult novel primarily but I tried to write it in a way so that hopefully there is a depth of theme there that adults also find interesting and meaningful. And actually many of my readers to this point have been adults and I’ve had some amazing reviews on Amazon, which has been great to see.

“I would say that on the surface it’s a post-apocalyptic adventure story about two young brothers who must find survival on their own after a terrible tragedy, with only the help of an illusive and possibly imaginary black panther. But really for me it’s a book about brotherhood and coming of age. It’s about that special bond of family, how it can triumph over seemingly impossible odds.

“I think what makes the book unique really is that; the relationship between the two brothers, Bandi and Markus, and how together they are able to grow up and bring the best out in each other and keep on fighting.

“I based the characters on myself and my brother. The novel is from the point of view of Bandi, the younger brother, who is based on my little brother, the little fighter of the two. I basically set out trying to write an adventure story I knew that we would have loved as kids. The initial idea from which the story stemmed was the concept of families hiding out in the metro station, whereby the children are tasked with searching for food and supply on the surface. This idea came from stories my grandmother shared with me about World War Two. She was in Budapest at the time and aged around 13, and it was her and the other youngsters who were tasked with searching for food since the soldiers patrolling the streets left them alone.

“The rest of the adventure grew from there.

“I’m currently working hard to promote the book. It’s quite difficult being with a smaller publisher because there isn’t the money for big marketing campaigns but it’s been really enjoyable, plugging away using things like Twitter and Facebook to promote when possible.”

Maté added: “I’ve just completed the sequel to In the Panther’s Wake and am working towards the final edit, which will hopefully be released early next year. I then plan to complete the planned trilogy soon after. I’m also still studying and working on another adult novel that’s very different from the Panther’s Wake series, as part of my PhD in Creative Writing, and hoping I will be able to release that as well when it is eventually completed.”

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