Seven years in the making, the Spice Girls singer has released a young adult novel titled 'Rosie Frost and the Falcon Queen'
"You're excited, and there's a little bit of trepidation at the same time," the Spice Girl explains to PEOPLE over a Zoom call in late September. "It's like, 'Here it comes.' You're powerless over the outcome, but you've done it."
Rosie Frost and the Falcon Queen, out Tuesday, centers on Rosie Frost, an orphan who is whisked away after her mother's death to attend a school for extraordinary teens on the mysterious Bloodstone Island. When the island comes under threat, Frost must enter her school's famed Falcon Queen games in a bid to save it.
Seven years in the making, the book has felt like a long time coming for Halliwell-Horner, 51, who previously released her children's book series Ugenia Lavender in 2008.
"I would disappear for hours in my writing shed, because you have to be quite disciplined," she says. "You just get lost when you're writing. It's very consuming."
Halliwell-Horner admits with a laugh that her husband of eight years, Christian Horner, 49, was often left wondering, "Where are you?"
"He said, 'I won't read it until you've finished it, until it's absolutely published, or you get a final copy,'" she recalls. "Yesterday he got on a plane, and I gave him one of the first copies of the book."
While on the flight, Halliwell-Horner says Horner, Team Principal of the Red Bull Formula One team, texted her, "I've read the first 135 pages. The book is great. It sucks you in, and it really is immersive. Better than I imagined. I'm very proud of you."
"I was like, 'Oh my God,'" she says. "He doesn't read that often, except maybe on holiday, so when he sent me that text, I was just grinning. That's so nice that he was sucked in. It is lovely."
Horner-Halliwell says her daughter Bluebell, 17, from a previous relationship, took a similar approach to the book. (Along with Bluebell, Horner-Halliwell has son Monty, 6, with Horner, and she is stepmom to Horner's daughter Olivia, 9, from a previous relationship.)
"She's studying English, and she's doing a lot of reading, and she said the exact same thing: 'I'll read it when you're absolutely finished,'" she says. "But the funny is, when I wrote certain scenes, I would read them to her just to see, 'What do you think of this?' She actually did help me with a guacamole joke in there."
Humor is used in Rosie Frost and the Falcon Queen as a tool to balance some of the more serious themes, like grief and climate change.
"There's an iceberg underneath the fast-moving action and adventure," Halliwell-Horner says. "It's there if you want it. You get to the ending when it asks those big questions about lithium, and that's for your New York Post reader who says, 'Is that true?' I sort of turned the gas up on reality just a little bit."
While highlighting the present, Halliwell-Horner also felt it important to incorporate the past. Interspersed throughout the book is a history lesson on historical figures like Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII who was beheaded for treason.
"I was advised by an agent, 'Don't touch Anne Boleyn because she's not popular,'" she says. "The more I researched her, I thought, 'You know what? I think this woman's had a bit of a raw deal.' If we put her in modern times, she'd probably join the #MeToo movement. The poor woman got executed by her husband, and she had to leave a little girl behind. That's horrendous."
She also called upon her own experience with grief. In 1993, Halliwell-Horner's dad Laurence died from a heart attack.
"I didn't realize I did it until after I finished the book, but that opening chapter, actually, of what happens to Rosie [where she's told at school that her mom has died], is what happened to me," she says. "I was in the classroom studying English literature, Hamlet, and I got pulled out of the classroom and told that my father was dead. I remember feeling absolutely shocked, but I didn't know how to process it."
"I don't know what it's like in America, but in England there's a bit more of a stiff upper lip," she continues. "I became very frozen and closed, because I didn't want to embarrass anybody with my pain, or make anyone feel awkward, so I just held it, but it gave me a different perspective of life. You suddenly become conscious of your own mortality. It sort of gets you up to your own life. That's the only gift in it."
With an intense resolve to chase her dreams, Halliwell-Horner joined the Spice Girls (earning herself the nickname Ginger Spice) just a year after her father's death. The Spice Girls went on to become the best-selling girl group of all time, and Halliwell-Horner says words always remained at the heart of her passion.
"Before the Spice Girls, I studied English literature and drama, so it was always very true to me," she says. "When I went into music, I was always using lyrics, the power of word. In America, they've always embraced trying different things. Dwayne Johnson went to same acting school as me, and he went from one thing to another, so I thought, 'You're allowed to do different things.' I mean, I still love what I've done before and that's still a huge part of me, but I'm allowed to do different things."
These days, Halliwell-Horner — who is releasing two original songs with her book — says that along with her work, her family makes her feel most fulfilled.
"I feel very blessed when I put my son to bed at night, or when I'm picking him up from school, taking him to school, holding his hand," she says. "Or just cheering on my husband. He really is a good, kind person. Then, being with animals is very fulfilling. I love learning about people, no matter who you are. I'm really excited to come to America and meet people from all walks of life."
Rosie Frost and the Falcon Queen is available now.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.