Once in a while, I like to give my room a good clear out. It settles me, and it passes away a few hours when I simply have nothing better to do with my time. Today, I went through the boxes in my bedroom to see what treasures lay hidden.
Among the old pairs of shoes that have worn down and the various items of clothes that are now too big/small for me, I found some old copy books. And not just any old copy books. These contained what I imagined to be my best selling novels, all written between the ages of eight and 14.
Looking back over these “literary masterpieces” has made me realise just how far my skills as a writer have come. Thankfully.
The Pearl Club
The first story ever written by the artist as a young wan, started at the ripe old age of eight when the family invested in a computer. If anything, it helped develop my typing skills.
The storyline dealt with the lives of twins Jessica and Chloe Roberts, who were the popular girls in their school. When their group was torn apart by one of their friends getting a boyfriend (even as an eight-year-old I knew that boys spelled trouble. Wise beyond my years.), they had to pull together to make sure they could handle all the chaos and heartache that Dennis brought to Anna.
One thing I will never forget is the final paragraph. It will haunt me to my dying days.
“I’m so happy you came back.” Grace sat on the bed. She still had her shoes on.
“I’m glad to be back. Lets have a sleepover tonight!”
Everyone thought this was a great idea. So they did.
Suzanne Collins, mind yourself, ok?
Leave Your Heart In Rome
This one was about Amy and her family while on holiday in Italy. While on their travels, Amy sees a girl who looks exactly like her from across the street. This girl is revealed (about ten pages in, because who needs cliffhangers) to be Amy’s twin sister Tamara, who had been adopted out as the family weren’t sure they could support two children at the time.
Written when I was 11, this was put together the same year the Lizzie McGuire Movie came out. Coincidence? I think not.
I was obsessed with the idea of having a sister. There are only two of us in the family, and despite my wishes my brother was born as, well, my brother. A girl could still dream though, and I took a pen in my hand and put together my first “big book” when I was 13. Based loosely on the idea of “Sisters? No Way” by Claire Hennessey (but not loosely enough to avoid plagiarism), it focused on the lives of Erica and Nicole O Neill, two siblings who had despised each other from the word go. Of course, the novel had to have a happy ending for them, so their parents separated. Logic.
When their parents separated, Erica lived with their mother while Nicole stayed with their Dad. Why that would make any sense is beyond me. This brought the girls closer together, absence makes the heart grow finder and all that. They discovered, through their time apart, that they couldn’t live without each other.
This was when the real stuff started. When I was in the early stages of secondary school, a friend of mine suffered a close personal bereavement. I used this, in a weird way, as inspiration for a book; what if we could visit people who had died? Not go to the graveyard and lay a wreath at the headstone, but actually see them in heaven?
And so, the idea for Messengers came to be. A Messenger was someone who, while still technically alive, could transport to Heaven via a hidden portal in their home. In the family of Sinead O Reilly, the protagonist, the family portal was in the hot press. No one ever looks there.
Messengers were usually the children of Angels, and Sinead’s Dad was none other than the Archangel Gabriel. You know, the one who told the Virgin Mary that she was knocked up. Turns out he had four kids of his own who were off galavanting around Heaven and earth as they pleased.
Sinead’s skill came in useful when her best friend Emma’s sister Kate died of cancer. For Emma to see her sister again, she would have to go through the rigorous training regime mortals had to undertake to become Messengers. Could she do it?
No one ever found out. Six years after I started it, this story has still never been finished. Maybe one day I’ll pick up a pen again, but until then I’ll stick to column writing.