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New Zealand Author’s Debut Novel Released in the USA

New Zealand Author’s Debut Novel Released in the USA

The main character of Wellington author Shane Filer’s debut novel may be home-bound, yet the author’s work is destined for faraway shores.

Filer’s first novel ‘Exit’ about an agoraphobic young woman’s search to understand a world beyond the walls of her home was released this month – not by a New Zealand publisher, but an American one.

“I tried for many years to get writing published here, and because I worked in video-making, it made sense to concentrate for a while on documentaries and films, but all to no avail. I received no support at all in New Zealand. I knew I was a good writer, and knew my work was better than most New Zealander writers, and knew I could make a contribution to further the arts scene and culture here. But it wasn’t to be. Support from publishers, TVNZ, TV3 and Creative NZ was non-existent. I began to realize it’s a very closed off incestuous world here, where who you know is more important than how good you are,” Filer says.

After many years of trying to get books, documentaries and films accepted in his own country, New Zealand, to no avail, he gave up, and took a trip to Europe and the USA. This rekindled his love of writing, after which he wrote the American-based novel ‘Exit,’ submitted it this time to American publishers and immediately, received several offers for the work.

“It was a vindication. Here I had several publishers clambering to publish the book, in a large country full of very talented author. The one I chose let me have complete creative control and ownership of the book.”

‘Exit’ is the story of Briar who spent a year trapped in her room, suffering from agoraphobia. Six years on, she’s free, yet ripples from the year’s isolation still lap at the edges of her life, especially when she meets a man who thinks he’s the reincarnation of Robin Hood — stealing from the rich to give to the poor, and he begins to draw her into his dark world. Ripples echo down through the years, leading her to the answer to one very simple question: is she losing her mind?

The novel has already been gaining 5 star reviews and is available online through websites like Amazon, and in U.S. bookstores. But will it be available in NZ stores?

“I don’t know. I’m not hopeful after the track record so far,” Filer admits. “I would like to think it will be, but I think I’ve resigned myself to the reality that in order to achieve support and success as a writer, I need to leave New Zealand. It’s a shame because I do have stories to tell about my country, and things to say, but it’s unlikely that will happen, unless someone wants to give me a column. My second novel is also aimed at an international market and will be published in the U.S.A.”

Filer has since also had comic book scripts accepted in the UK by DC Thompson, the publisher of the long-running ‘Commando’ comic, fulfilling yet another childhood dream.

“It’s fun to give back to a medium I love from childhood, and to write something quite different. So yes, I’m an international writer now. In a way like the character in my book, I’ve felt like the years trying to write in New Zealand have been like I’m trapped and isolated in a room; now I’m looking forward to leaving the room, and at last being able to write about the outside world I see.”

EXIT was released December 2nd from Biblio Publishing in the USA, and is available from

The Book Trailer written and directed by Shane Filer and shot in Wellington, NZ can be found here:


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