PUTNEY, Vt. – Local author Alex Hiam, originally from the Boston area and now residing in Putney, has released his latest teen fantasy fiction book in his “Silent Lee” book series titled “Silent Lee and the Oxford Adventure.” Released in September, the new book is the follow up to “Silent Lee and the Adventures of the Side Door Key.”
The first book in this adventurous series introduced the reader to Silent or “Sie,” a 15-year-old student at the Girls’ Academy of Latin and Alchemy who travels each day on her way to school between modern-day Boston and the 100-year-older city by way of a secret door. After the unexpected death of her Great Aunt, Sie is on a search to find out what led to this tragedy, along with other questions that arise along the way including her own mother’s identity and whereabouts.
The concept for the book series came easily to Hiam. “I grew up visiting my great-grandmother in Boston and she lived in a huge house that was frozen in time and full of old-fashioned things,” Hiam said. “A few summers ago, I was walking around that neighborhood again with my twin brother, reminiscing about how we used to explore her house – it had secret passages behind wooden panels and things like that – it was magical.
“The trip got my imagination going and I started scribbling down ideas for the first ‘Silent Lee’ book and it was amazing how rapidly that story came out. I had the first draft done in a couple weeks… it was definitely meant to be!”
How did Hiam and his family find their way to southern Vermont?
“My brother and his family live here, and we’ve been visiting for many years. When my teen was ready to go to high school it seemed like a good time to move, because we wanted to be both near family and live in the more relaxed environment of Vermont.”
The second book in the series was released in September, and in this tale Sie not only visits the “side door world” of Boston, but she and her sidekick Raahi travel all the way to Oxford England and back.
Hiam also has the advantage of having two young daughters at home to bounce his plot ideas off of. “My kids are now 10 and 16, so they are great ages to help with my ‘Silent Lee’ books. I read chapter stories out loud to my 10-year-old, and my 16-year-old gets credit for story development in the new book because they really do help me with the plotting of the stories. It’s a lot of fun to collaborate with my kids… my writing is kind of a family business!
“Currently, I am drafting a new story with new adventures, including a scene set at Boston’s Museum of Fine Art where they sneak in and magically get whisked away to Milan and meet Leonardo Da Vinci in his studio while working on the Mona Lisa. Of course, it will turn out that he’s also a powerful sorcerer along with what we already know about him.”
It is interesting that Hiam doesn’t make up the Boston locations in his plots, he simply makes them more magical for purposes of his stories. “You can actually follow Silent around town [Boston] by reading the plot… you can use my books as sort of creative tourist maps,” he explained.
Hiam’s “Silent Lee” book series is currently available locally at Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls. For more information, visit his website at www.alexhiam.com.