Hazel excited to share first novel with public

Published 6:36 am Thursday, December 22, 2011

Joan Hazel was worried she’d be sitting alone at a table full of books with no buyers on Wednesday. Instead, her first published book sold out in 2 hours and 23 minutes.

“If you had asked me if this day would come, if I would be in a Barnes & Noble signing a book I wrote, I would have said ‘no,’ ” Hazel reflected with a smile. “Good things happen.”

Hazel has been a writer “forever.” She began writing a still-in-the-works novel in 2001, but “The Last Guardian” is the first book the eight-year Troy University employee has had published.

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“I was so excited to share it with people,” Hazel said. “I loved the characters so much. I wanted other people to fall in love with them, too.”

Although “The Last Guardian” involves a paranormal romance, Hazel is reluctant to compare her work with other well-known stories, such as the Twilight series. Hazel said she hasn’t even read the Stephenie Meyer books yet, because she didn’t want to allow for any accidental crossover as she crafted her own storyline.

Hazel doesn’t limit herself to a specific genre, but her writing tends to lean more toward fantasy and supernatural ideas. She’s written a romance involving a psychic detective, a modern romance, and now a book about “commando shape-shifters that go to hell, battle the gods and get the girl.”

Hazel sat down at 10 a.m. in the campus bookstore with 32 copies of “The Last Guardian.” At 12:32 p.m., she was signing the last of the books she had for sale.

“I am a little sad it is over so quickly,” said Hazel, who was prepared to stay at her signing table until 4 p.m. “But I am really pleased the community came out and seems to be as excited as I am.”

This isn’t the last you’ll see of the author. There are four strong male characters in Hazel’s book and she plans a separate work for each one.

“The Last Guardian” can be purchased in paperback from Amazon.com for $14.99, or in Kindle form for $2.99. Autographed copies with free shipping can be obtained through fantasyislandbookpublishing.com.

For her next book, Hazel said there will be a contest to win the first copy and to name a character.

“I am just thrilled this is happening,” Hazel said. “I hope to be writing for a long time.”