The sword and the author

Author Amber Gabriel of Temple sits at a table with the five books from her series, “The Edge of the Sword,” during a recent book signing event at the Cotton Cafe in Rogers. In the foreground are two swords from Gabriel's sword collection.

Amber Gabriel has loved fairy tales since before she could read.

“I loved the illustrations full of dancing, dresses and dragons … and for as long as I can remember I have told myself these stories to help fall asleep,” she said.

After picturing these narratives in her head, Gabriel said she decided to jot them down.

“When I wrote them down, a scene would stop playing in my head,” she said. “But then I would wonder what happens next.”

That curiosity ultimately led Gabriel — a full-time teacher at Chisholm Trail Elementary in the Belton Independent School District — to write her own series of novels, which she has self-published. Her workings include “A Crack in the Rock,” The Warrior Prince of Berush,” “In Search of Magic Fire,” “The Throne of Cerecia” and “The Princess of Everywhere.”

The author emphasized how she tries to fill a niche with “The Edge of the Sword Series” that she has authored since 2018.

“Part of my purpose in writing is to try and fill a niche that I feel is not being addressed very much,” Gabriel said. “A lot of fantasy fiction is written for young adults ... so there isn’t very much of that genre for adults that isn’t either really dark or really explicit.”

The lack of a relevant narrative for Gabriel also was a driving force in becoming a fantasy-fiction author, and she has since relied on personal experiences with medieval activities for inspiration.

“I do a lot of things that my characters do,” she said. “You can incorporate so much more detail into a story if you can actually experience it. So a lot of the things that my characters do, I have done also … like riding a camel, practicing historical European martial arts, throwing daggers and (swordsmanship). My husband and I even experimented with flaming arrows the other day.”

Although she is still working on building her fanbase, Gabriel — whose favorite authors growing up were C.S. Lewis, John White and Lloyd Alexander — said the process has been fun.

“I’m doing self-publishing through Amazon, which is an interesting experience because anybody can self publish their work on Amazon,” Gabriel said. “There’s a lot of books out there of varying quality, so it can be difficult to get your book out there … but I actually have enjoyed the process.”

She stressed how that personal enjoyment is all that really matters in the end.

“I think that it’s important to do what you enjoy,” Gabriel said. “If I don’t ever become a bestseller, I’ll be okay … because I’m doing something with my time that’s beneficial to me. I’m very happy and fulfilled, and I think other people should do things they enjoy.”

Gabriel’s work can be purchased online at amzn.to/3vhl4FY or by visiting McWha Book Store in Belton — a shop she said is stocked with books from a variety of local authors.