Parramatta resident Felicity Castagna is in a good position to judge if, as has been said, writing a novel really is like giving birth.
She went into labour with her first baby the day she completed nearly four years of labor writing her new book The Incredible Here and Now.
At the same time as son Zain was being delivered in a hospital ward she was trying to find a way to deliver the final draft to western Sydney based publisher Giramondo.
And her baby and the book will forever be intertwined, with the novel, which hit shelves this month, dedicated to her young son.
The book very much marches to its own drum: it is one of few books set entirely in Parramatta and is also one of few young adult fictional books written in a vignette form.
And it's not about witches and warlocks, it's about the magic that occurs in ordinary life.
Ms Castagna, a former teacher at Parramatta Marist High, said as cities became more generic she wanted to explore the details of everyday living in a local space like Parramatta.
"As we become more globalised all we have is those local spaces, and that is what makes the local so interesting," she said.
"I wanted to write about the Coke factory, the McDonald's, the Westfield and the local park in Parramatta and I wanted to write about the kind of magic that happens in those very ordinary spaces that even the people who live there don't notice."
The book isn't just about the broad colours of the Parramatta community, it's about the shades. It brims with local nitty-gritty - from the row of hairdressers in Phillip Street to the food van set up for the homeless in Prince Alfred Park.
The details are tied together through the story of the coming-of-age of Michael, whose older brother dies at the beginning of the summer he turns 15.
Ms Castagna, whose collection of short stories Small Indiscretions was published in 2011, said she wrote a series of stories about the area but never intended to turn them into a book.
"I first started penning bits and pieces in my writers' group in 2009; it started as an experiment," she said.
"I just wanted to write these short little vignettes but I ended up writing a lot of them.
"I kind of went back to it in bits and pieces every now and then."
After spending her youth living and travelling around Asia and North America, Ms Castagna has now lived in Parramatta for about a decade.
"I just thought it was an incredibly vibrant community and I think I picked well because it's certainly become more vibrant — Parramatta is not just seen as a capital of arts in western Sydney any more, I think it's seen a second capital of arts for Sydney," she said.
Ms Castagna will officially launch her book in October and there will be a reading in November at Mars Hill Cafe.