Local author AJ Cootes to launch highly-anticipated Almythea franchise in Pokolbin

HE may be a late bloomer in the industry, but Hunter author AJ Cootes is making waves with just his second-ever book.

The Almythea franchise, which has five different parts, has already gained international interest and captured the attention of movie studios.

And, yet, it will be the lucky audience at Spicers Guesthouse in Pokolbin next month who will get the first taste of the novel.

Better Homes and Gardens host Johanna Griggs will MC the event along with "media queen" Aldwyn Altuney.

Launches for the first instalment Almythea: Rise of Wingtar will also take place on the Gold Coast and Brisbane Supanova, where Hollywood star Cliff Simon will be in attendance to help promote the work.

Simon, best-known for his role as Lord Ba'al in Stargate SG-1, is just one of several high-profile names to throw their support behind Cootes, with Priscilla Presley and Star Wars CGI guru Bruce Logan also getting involved.

The book is a sci-fi thriller, focusing on the journey of an exiled warrior as he encounters a mysterious and rebellious man named Grey Paw, who will help change the course of planet Almythea, whose inhabitants have been enslaved and the world itself mined for crystals.

The proceeds of the launch will go to Beyond Blue, giving an extra reason to attend on top of getting a chance to land the intriguing and tense novel.

Cootes has chosen to help Beyond Blue because of his best friend Greg Wilson, who battled with depression after a near fatal motorbike accident - this was the inspiration for his first book My Brush with Depression, which he co-wrote with Wilson.

The author said writing that was hugely important to him, but also unlocked something within him that inspired him to put pen to paper again.

"From that, I just enjoyed writing so much it led to me writing Almythea," the 45-year-old said.

"I love science-fiction, I grew up reading books like Dune by Frank Herbert and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

"So, I've always loved it and Star Wars was my absolute favourite, sci-fi just has that aura and it's special."

It was Cootes' choice to hold the first launch in his area at Pokolbin, and it is sure to be packed at Spicers Guesthouse when the day comes around on November 3.