[Homestead] Thirteen year old writer hits big time
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sat Feb 5 09:10:19 EST 2005
February 05, 2005
Dragon flies off the shelves for author, 13, in a game of success
By Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent
A SCHOOLGIRL has become a publishing sensation after her first novel
sold 50,000 copies in six weeks. A second print run for Emma Maree
Urquhart's /Dragon Tamers/ has been ordered.
Emma Maree, 13, from Inverness, wrote about a teenager who is dragged
into a virtual reality game involving a dragon. If she dies in the game,
she dies in the real world.
She said: "It's a perfect read for the computer generation. Lots of kids
out there like playing computer games and this is taking it to a whole
new level. The characters go into the world and experience it for real."
Her publishers have had calls from collectors asking to buy up to ten
signed copies at once. Although /Dragon Tamers/ has a recommended retail
price of £9.95, a copy has featured on eBay for £35, her publishers
Charles Faulkner, who heads Aultbea Publishing, in Inverness, said: "I
would describe her as a genius . . . You would not know this novel had
been written by a 13-year-old. She can take a situation and make it come
to life. Even adults have found it interesting. It's difficult to put
down." He anticipates sales topping six figures in the book's first year.
Emma Maree was writing short stories at the age of 10 and is determined
to pursue a career as a novelist. She writes in longhand and then
transfers the material to a computer.
"I enjoy writing," she said. "It's a lot of fun. My parents encouraged
me to write. It has been a long ambition of mine to write a book and get
it published. I have been writing stories for quite a while, but none of
them have been as good as /Dragon Tamers/."
There are no writers in the family and she finds inspiration in J. K.
Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson and Terry Pratchett, as well as classics such
as /Treasure Island/. Her father, Ian, an electrician, said: "She does
everything off her own back. We have to safeguard her, but she's taken
everything calmly. She's coping well, with our support."
The novel took her about a year to write. "It came naturally," he said.
"It just flowed out of her."
As soon as she had finished the novel, Emma Maree consulted the internet
to find a publisher. She sent off her manuscript to several, including
Aultbea, which responded immediately.
Emma Maree is now working on a second book in a series featuring the
*PRODIGIES ON PAPER*
# Walker Books has signed up Sam Stern, 14, from York, for /Cooking up A
Storm! The Teen Survival Cookbook/. It includes recipes to "impress the
girls" and for "brain food" -- to help with exams
# Four years ago, Katie Chadd, 7, from Croydon, South London, created /The
Snail Who Lost His Shell/, which was published by Brilliant Books for Tesco
# Daisy Ashford, 9, wrote /The Young Visiters /(sic) in the 1860s
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