When audio versions of the first two books of James Priest’s “Kirins” triology were offered free on the Internet, people noticed. A lot of people.
There were 330,000 downloads into 108 countries of the world.
“It was an amazing response. You don’t get a third of a million downloads from nothing,” the Poipu resident said. “They liked it. The people loved it.”
And now, it’s available in print.
Priest’s first book, “Kirins: The Spell of No’an” was successfully funded — nearly $13,000 by about 100 contributors — on Kickstarter and was published by Beaver’s Pond Press. He signed copies of his book Friday at Talk Story Bookstore in Hanapepe.
The retired orthopedic surgeon believes his trilogy has the stuff to capture a large audience. It tells the tale of small, maybe 1-foot-tall, magical, mystical creatures who live on Earth, have their own language and are invisible to humans due to “The Spell of No’an.”
“They are a wonderful race of beings,” Priest said. “They’re all over the world. Kirins are everywhere.”
But something threatens the existence of the Kirins. Their quest to live in peace will take them to face evil “lurking a continent and an ocean away.” And their success hinges on help from those who can’t see them: human beings.
“The Spell of No’an” is 317 pages with several black-and-white illustrations.
The following books, “The Flight of the Ain,” “The Secret of the Hanging Stones” and “The Seer of Serone,” continues the saga. Books two and three are expected to be out in print soon and four will eventually follow.
A fifth book is under way.
Priest began writing the triology, which he calls “Tolkienesque in nature,” some 25 to 30 years ago. A doctor, he wrote when he could. Since retiring, he’s been able to focus more on his writing.
He recorded all three books — it took over a year for the first one alone. It will be out in audio book form in January.
These days, with books seeming to focus on vampires and zombies, Priest is glad to offer readers a thrilling, action adventure that’s OK for the family.
“We know now people enjoy the story,” he said.
Wife Ilka is her husband’s biggest fan and loves the Kirins trilogy.
“This is a labor of love,” she said. “He has created an amazing world.”
She laughed while recalling waking up and finding her husband pacing at night.
“What’s the matter?” she asked.
“I can’t sleep,” James Priest said. “My characters are in terrible, terrible danger and I’ve got to get them out.”
Priest, an avid tennis player, also enjoys writing humorous short stories. One is “The Dogs of Paris.”
He is particularly proud of the Kirins triology and believes it has characters, plots and places that will keep readers turning pages and wanting more.
“I think there’s a chance it will be classic,” he said.