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Samoan author to release first Samoan YA fiction novel

Samoan author to release first Samoan YA fiction novel

Take one Manu Samoa rugby player, one talented photographer, some liberally applied coconut oil, a bone carving necklace and a piece of elei fabric – and what do you have? A dazzling selection of photographs taken for the cover of the next book by author, Lani Wendt Young.

In November, Lani will launch her first fiction novel, “TELESA – THE COVENANT KEEPER” - an urban fantasy romance set in modern day Samoa that draws on the legends of teine Sa but with a huge amount of creative license and imagination. She explains, “After working on the tsunami book project for a year, I really wanted to immerse myself in light, fun, and exciting fiction. TELESA is the first book in a Young Adult series. It’s got action, intrigue, elements of the supernatural and of course, it’s got romance with a gorgeous male lead character! His name is Daniel and he happens to be Headboy at Samoa College and Captain of the First XV.”

On Wednesday last week, elite rugby player Ezra Taylor took a few hours off training to do a photo-shoot with local photographer Tim Rasmussen. Lani said, “I wanted someone for the book cover who was also a positive role model for our Pacific Island youth and so I was thrilled when Ezra agreed to ‘be’ Daniel. It helps that Ezra totally looks the part. I’m sure his fans will love the photos that Tim has taken.”

Ezra said of his first experience at being a cover model, “I felt a bit awkward at first since I’m not used to this kind of thing. I’m more comfortable on the rugby field. But once we got into it, it was a lot of fun. I’m not sure how the photos will turn out though - I’ve been enjoying the great Samoan food since I’ve been here and I’m sure that it shows!”

The photoshoot took place at the Hotel Amanaki and the RLS Museum gardens, under the creative direction of media and marketing expert Henry Tunupopo, who is assisting with the upcoming TELESA book launch, along with Renate Rivers. Henry commented, “ Ezra was great to work with. He knew what we wanted from the creative brief supplied by the author, so he eased into it pretty well. I think he had a bit of fun too.” Most of the photoshoot required that Ezra pose as a ‘Polynesian Warrior’ so not much clothing was required but what wardrobe he did need was provided by design store Plantation House.

The photos will be used in a wide range of TELESA book launch activities which will include an international book ‘tour’ of twenty-five different online media sites as well as book launches in Apia and Auckland, NZ. Initial reviews of TELESA have called it, “a breathtaking love story, intertwined with culture, complete with a contemporary feel” and “a gripping page-turner”. Lani is the author of ‘Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi’ which was released in 2010.


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