18-year-old author LJ Hoyland to release third novel after discovering love for writing during Covid lockdowns

A TEENAGER who struggled with literature in school and only started writing books during the Covid lockdowns is now planning to publish his third novel.

Leo Hoyland, who writes as LJ Hoyland, is only 18 but has already self-published two books.

Originally from Flanderwell, Leo said Covid had changed his life for the better as he had found his purpose and now wanted to publish a book every year.

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Leo said: “I must admit that I had never wanted to be a writer.

“In fact, for as long as I can remember I’ve always struggled in school with literature and language.

“In March 2020, as we all know, the UK was forced into a national lockdown, and this is when I began writing.

“I always had a side of me that I’d kept hidden away.

“Having adopted the ‘Jack the lad’ character at school, I couldn’t express my deeper thoughts or my love of pop fiction, but during lockdown, who was going to stop me?”

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Leo told the Advertiser that he was inspired by authors and a man whose name is not especially associated with novel writing — the film director Christopher Nolan.

Leo added: “There’s something about his films, a deeper meaning.”

Leo’s first novel – The Huntsman – came out in March 2022 and the second part of the duology, Dawn of the Huntsman, has now been released, too.

He said the process of writing had been very difficult and had included numerous rewrites and failings.

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“I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t countless failed stories, drawbacks, rewrites,” said Leo.

“I reached out to authors and tried to understand how publishing worked.

“Each time I was hit with resounding disappointment and large fees.

“As a 15- to 17-year-old, I could not afford to write and publish — and so came lulu.com.

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“Using the site I could publish my book in several forms, and have it distributed all over the world for free.”

While the plot in Leo’s book is based in a fictional town named Redscope, he said he had put his experience of growing up in Rotherham in the books.

He said: “Redscope is similar to Rotherham — there are parts with humble-natured citizens as well as gang warfare that wrecks the city on a daily basis.”

Leo said he had put something of himself into the books, adding: “I believe there is a touch of every author in their writing.

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“Thoughts and feelings are not generated from nothing, but rather things you have felt before.

“During the lockdown, I was experiencing a troubling time in my life where I was mid-teen and I was generally unhappy most of the time — I then flourished in writing scenes where Jack, my main character, was experiencing something similar.

“I have always said that I’m at my best when I feel the worst.”

Leo’s new book Remember The Day The World Went Dark is in the making.

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