[Homestead] Thirteen year old writer hits big time

tvoivozhd 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 
discovered.

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 
same characters.

*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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