Author Aarika Copeland, of Claremore, offers young readers an original story this fall that will both spook and inspire. Scheduled for release on Tuesday, Oct. 2, Hallow Forest, a middle grade chapter book, is Copeland’s debut standalone. Before, her short stories have been featured in Stories From Last Wednesday, as well as various online media.
The chapter book tells the story of Elizabeth Applegate entering Hallow Forest, made haunted by town legend, on a Halloween dare. Finding herself in a world she never imagined, the forest’s spooky inhabitants look to her for help in saving the forest before midnight. Does Elizabeth posses the magic to save them all?
Illustrated by Claremore artist Madison Lamarche, the illustrations can be described as “Burton-esque.”
“I think young readers will enjoy the rich, vivid imagery of the setting,” Copeland said. “And draw on the parallels of the protagonist’s emotional conflict and their own.”
Lover of all things creepy, some of the inspiration for Hallow Forest sparked from a day spent at a ceramic painting shop. Upon finding a figurine resembling something of a swamp monster, Copeland knew he had a story to tell. Her character Scrum is based off the ceramic.
Other inspiration flared from a conversation Copeland had with her sister. “She was searching for a child’s story revolving around loss of a parent, to help a family and their child in a time of loss,” she said. “She was unlucky in her search.”
Hallow Forest can be found for pre-order and sale at all major online booksellers, as well as inside local bookstores. For more information, follow Aarika on Instagram @aarikacauthor or visit her on Facebook.
As for what’s next, Copeland is toying with the idea of a prequel to Hallow Forest. But for now, she is currently writing her first novel, and finishing up two short stories for an anthology that is due to come out this November.