CREATIVE MASTERMIND: Yvette Bracefield (published as YK Willemse) has just released the fifth book in her YA epic fantasy series - at the age of 25.
CREATIVE MASTERMIND: Yvette Bracefield (published as YK Willemse) has just released the fifth book in her YA epic fantasy series - at the age of 25. Brooke Duncan

Five books published and counting

HER friends know her as Yvette Bracefeld, but the readers of her five published novels know her as YK Willemse.

The 25-year-old New Zealand-come-Chinchilla resident is something of a marvel, having just published her fifth book in a Young Adult epic fantasy series.

And Willemse says it's only the beginning.

"I just always knew that I was going to be a storyteller, that this was just something inside of me that I guess I needed to let out,” she said.

"The storytelling aspect was what appealed to me most, being able to have a voice and use it.”

At only 16 she was published for the first time in an anthology, and since then has forged a path few her age have the strength and determination to walk.

She signed her first literary agency contract at 18, signed with a publisher at 20, and saw her first novel released when she was 22.

And the books themselves?

"They're really about a boy who starts as a slave and he's destined for great things, he's destined essentially to save the world from the force of Nazt... but he doesn't realise it,” Willemse said.

"So the seven-book series follows his journey as he develops from being an escapee slave boy to being a king and then a leader and a warrior.”

The young author has been on a journey herself this year, when she and her husband Michael made the decision to move from Christchurch to Chinchilla.

She spent several years living in Australia as a child, and when the couple returned for a holiday last year they knew the move was for them. Mr Bracefield now teaches at Chinchilla Christian College, while Willemse writes and teaches singing, piano and creative writing.

When asked about her success Willemse said it felt "pretty normal”.

"I'm supposed to have a brilliant imagination because I'm an author, but I find it very hard to imagine not having five books under my belt,” she said.

"But I'm very, very glad that I got there, because the journey to being published was very long and very difficult... so to be here where I've always known that I should be is a very good feeling.”

Willemse has two pieces of advice for budding writers.

"I would say write what you love first and foremost, and if you find that people are trying to put their own spin on your work as they critique it, then give yourself space, because unless you're passionate about what you're writing it's never, ever going to work,” she said.

"The other thing I would say is make sure your characters drive the story, not you. Sometimes we plot a story very rigidly and we keep it that way even if the characters develop their own personalities, and their actions are at odds with the personality that the reader perceives them to have.

"So you really want to let the characters drive the story so that it's believable, and your readers feel like they're interacting with someone real.”

Willemse's books are available on Amazon, Book Depository, and Booktopia.