A HAVERFORDWEST-born author is returning to his home town for an event to mark the release of his debut novel.

Phil Rowlands will be signing copies of his novel Siena at Victoria Bookshop on Friday, December 15.

The novelis a thriller set between Wales and the Italian city of Siena.

It follows the journey of artist Sara Llewelyn as she copes with grief following the death of her son and husband, both of whom are caught in the crossfire as an Italian businessman is shot at Paddington station.

“It is about the resilience of the human spirit really, and how you come out of a deep grief,” said Phil.

There are two reasons for the novel’s Italian setting said Phil: “The businessman is from Siena, so Sara tries to find some closure by finding out why he was killed. The other is it is a Mecca for artists.”

In Italy, Sara finds herself drawn into a world of art and culture, but also one of betrayal and treachery.

The novel first started life as a screenplay for a film or television series, with Phil drawing on his experience of screenwriting and acting to write it.

He sat on his screenplay for some years before coming back to it and deciding to write it as a novel.

Phil said his career in acting were instrumental in helping to craft Sara’s emotional journey throughout the novel.

“As an actor that is what you do: you find these things inside you. We all have the potential to be everything,” he said.

His career in acting began at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and he was a founding member of Milford Haven’s Torch Theatre.

Phil left Haverfordwest age 19, having been brought up in the town and having found memories of summers spent at Newgale with his family.

He has since lived all over the UK, and is now based in Penarth.

Phil’s career has moved into screenwriting, and he is currently working in partnership with Canadian First Nations’ writer Jordan Wheeler on a film called Echoes, based upon his grandparents’ experience of life when they emigrated to Canada.

Phil Rowlands will be signing copies of Siena between 10am and 12noon on Friday, December 15 at Victoria Bookshop, Bridge Street, Haverfordwest.

An excerpt of the novel is available to read at Phil’s website: philrowlandswriter.com/siena