Local author want’s his first novel “Hunted by Fire” to quench young readers thirst for reading

Jim Hepburn hopes fantasy novel inspires young adults to embrace STEM subjects

Local author Jim Hepburn has always loved reading.

At a young age, he would devour books years ahead of his age level, making it challenging for him and his parents to find material to keep him interested.

That’s why he hopes his first young adult novel, “Hunted by Fire,” strikes the right notes with young adults between 13-17.

The 29 year old Innisfil resident describes “Hunted by Fire” as a whimsy fantasy with swords and horses, in a world ruled by dragon gods.

Have a Listen To Our Chat With Jim on What Barrie’s Talking About

“It’s about a 15-year-old boy, Felix, who grows up in a world where the dragon gods are tyrannical and brutal. Felix thinks something isn’t right, but he’s surrounded by teachers, townsfolk, and parents who are used to the old way of thinking.” Hepburn explains.

“He’s not combat trained like his friends, he’s not charismatic; but he’s very smart, resourceful, inventive, and has a knack for science and engineering. At some point, he’s forced to face dangers, get gritty and resourceful if he’s going to survive long enough to make it back to his loved ones.”

Hepburn says he wanted to focus on the main character’s brain instead of brawn.

“I wanted a protagonist who struggles to overcome problems with his mind because, in the world, very few of our issues are physical; most are mental. You have to struggle and be strategic and diplomatic.”

Hepburn wants the book to inspire young people struggling with STEM subjects, hoping the main character will encourage readers to try these subjects again before writing them off.

“These subjects are hard,” he acknowledges.

“They take a lot of work to get really good at, but I believe we could use a lot more well-rounded young people who can embrace both the arts and science.”

He adds that he plans to make “Hunted by Fire” a series as he gets to work on the second book.

He hopes the series is one that readers can sink their teeth into, which he knows can be hard for young people to find.

“When I was young, I would get the latest Harry Potter or Percy Jackson book and be through it in two days, so I want to help fill that gap, make something young people can enjoy, and help feed their fire for reading.”

“Hunted by Fire” is available for purchase at the Barrie Book Inn on Bell Farm Road, Manticore Books in Orillia and on Amazon.