KINGSPORT — Local author and Rogersville native R.J. Harris will release her debut novel, The Spirit Breather — the first book in a four-book Native Guardians series — on Oct. 1.

Set in Cherokee, N.C., the series highlights local and Cherokee legends, including the Nunnehi Immortals, the Spirit Warriors, the Phoenix, and the Raven Mockers.

A graduate of Cherokee High School and former intern for the Rogersville Review, Harris credits her family and her teachers with her love of writing and all things literary.

“My parents instilled a deep love of reading and learning from a young age, and I had some wonderful teachers, both at RCS and CHS, who encouraged me to continue my writing beyond school assignments,” Harris said.

Her deep love for her home in East Tennessee and the beautiful landscape of the region is what inspires her stories.

“I don’t think I could ever leave the mountains,” she said. “The area’s beautiful, yet mysterious, mountains, as well as haunting local legends, is what fuels the characters and plots I create.”

Harris graduated from Cherokee High School in 2000 and also holds degrees from Emory & Henry College, Milligan College, and Spalding University.

She is the former Features Editor for The Erwin (TN) Record.

Before pursuing a full-time writing career, she taught high school English and college level composition. She currently resides in Kingsport with her husband and son.

The Spirit Breather, as well as select short stories, will be available exclusively on Amazon.

Readers can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, as well as her web site, www.rebekahjharris.com.