Merthyr Tydfil: Boy, 16, writes novel after mum dies

A teenager whose mother died unexpectedly has discussed how turning to supernatural writing helped him cope with grief.

Mckenzy Dominy, 16, from Merthyr Tydfil, said he felt "isolated" after his mum died in 2021.

He returned to his childhood hobby of creative writing which helped him "rebuild" himself.

He later published his novel, Why the Good Die Young, which was a supernatural story about the afterlife.

One of his characters, hotel owner Kelly Starling, was based on his mother Kelsey Dominy.

"She's very much relied upon - I feel like everyone in the town goes to her and at times when she isn't there, they struggle, and I feel like that's part of my own story with grief," he said.

"When my mother was here I was very much like a mother's boy who relied on her for everything.

"I was very family-oriented, but since her death I've had to step up then and do stuff on myself."

Describing his mother's death, Mckenzy said: "It was very traumatic… I just felt like I was falling away."

Selfie of Mckenzy and his mum Kelsey
One character in the novel is based on Mckenzy's mother, Kelsey, who died unexpectedly in 2021

After his mother's death, it took him six months to pick up his pen again.

"I remember trying to type it, but I just couldn't. I think that's the thing when you like to base the characters off people, it can be emotionally painful," he said.

"My book is like a lesson: you shouldn't set and guess life - you shouldn't take it for granted."

Mckenzy said his love for writing began as a young child when he used to look at people in the street and think they could be good characters in a book.

He said: "I always wonder what's going on in someone's life.

"I think you could fill an entire library with all the stories I've written since a young age."

The novel's plot sees protagonist Robyn Byrn, a reporter, come into the afterlife town of Wayward - inspired by his south Wales childhood holidays at Barry Island.

He said: "When she comes to the fictional town, it's all peaceful, exactly what she doesn't want. Everyone else wants this peace, but she's just against it. So she starts digging into her past, thinking she can find a flaw and then she finds it, and she really regrets it."

Every character in Mckenzy's book has been inspired by someone.

"I feel the book is my thing, my take on life. I thought to myself, if my life was supernatural, what would it be like?"

Clare Fayer holding a kindle displaying Mckenzy's novel Why the Good Die Young
Clare Fayer, a children's author, helped Mckenzy with templating the 400-page novel

Mckenzy published his book after successfully applying for an Amazon grant to help new young writers.

In the first 24 hours, his book made it to 11 on Amazon's paranormal ranking list.

His original story was 30 pages, but after four drafts and help from his teacher and children's author Clare Fayer, he managed to get it up to 400.

After earning money from his novel's pre-orders, Mckenzy treated his family to a celebratory Chinese meal.