At age 19, Matthew Heroux is now a published author.

The Belfast native sat down with The Republican Journal last November to chat about penning his first novel, a work of fiction that draws heavily from his own life experiences. Originally, the budding novelist intended to publish his work to coincide with his sister's graduation later this summer. However, after passing around a working draft of the book, Heroux received some not unexpected criticism.

That feedback, questioning the direction the story was taking, sparked a late-night brainstorming session during which Heroux grasped what prompts his main character to pen a memoir of sorts: He's already dead.

While that might seem like a massive plot-spoiler, Heroux notes that detail is included in the book's description on where he self-published the novel. The description reads: "When 18-year-old Alex looks back in life, he realizes one important aspect: It is ironic. As he reflects, he reveals the events that led to his murder."

That's a significant change from what Herous was considering when he first began writing the book, “An Echo of Lust,” in which he envisioned the main character being alive has he reflects on his life. The change is one that Heroux said he feels is appropriate and better explains the events leading up to his character's demise.

“I did a big time change,” he said.

While talking about his plans several months previous, Heroux said his desire to write and publish a book developed when he signed up for a creative writing course at Belfast Area High School. That course challenged him to write on a variety of topics, and eventually led to Heroux submitting and winning second place in a writing contest for a memoir piece.

While he enjoyed writing, it was when he read his award-winning piece in front of other people that Heroux realized the impact written word could have on people.

That led Heroux to seriously consider writing and publishing a book post-graduation. The work of fiction was written in spurts over the summer after Heroux graduated but then he gradually began spending more and more time writing and editing.

With about 1,000-plus hours invested in the 200-page book, Heroux said he's both nervous and excited now that's it's available to purchase. He's nervous about how the book will be received but also excited to hear from readers.

“To get it done is like the elephant's out of the room,” Heroux said. “It feels good to get it done.”

While working on the book, Heroux said he planned on publishing through more traditional outlets. However, as he looked at the cost to do so, as well as how royalties are allocated, he opted instead to consider the self-publishing route. Not only did it make more sense financially; Heroux noted his book will also be available, eventually, on Kindle — a popular e-reader.

As he waits to hear the public response to his work — the book was published April 2 — Heroux said he's going to take some time for himself before he would consider jumping into another project. In addition, the young author said he is looking at in-state psychology programs.

Copies of the book can be purchased here.