Review - Reach for the stars
Like many teenage girls, Emily Baker loves boy bands, but the One Direction fan never dreamed that her obsession would turn her into a published author. But 16-year-old Emily was talent-spotted by Penguin Children's Fiction and commissioned to write a romantic novel that tapped into the popularity of such groups, as an ebook: Loving the Band.
The novel tells the story of a young girl who gets more than she bargains for when she meets the group she has idolised for years. While most girls dream of falling in love with a band member, Emily's character has two of the young musicians fall madly in love with her.
The young writer's talent was spied by Lindsey Heaven, senior fiction editor at Penguin Children's Fiction, who read a piece of fan-fiction Emily had posted online. Me, Myself and One Direction had attracted more than 30,000 readers on movellas.com, an online youth writing community. Penguin had been looking for a new young writer, and Emily fitted the bill.
"I'd always been interested in writing, though English was never my favourite subject," Emily says. "There wasn't much creative writing on the GCSE syllabus at my school. I preferred subjects which let me express my creativity - like music and art - and I continue to study those at college in North Lincolnshire. But I knew that if I wrote about One Direction, there would be an audience for it as they have an incredible fan base. And I enjoyed writing it. It's still hard to believe that out of all the books online, mine was the one that was spotted by the publishers. I'm so grateful for the opportunity."
Emily is not yet sure whether she wants to go on to be a professional writer. "I'm only young," she says. "I hope to go to university, but I will just have to see where it takes me."
She has three top tips for aspiring young writers:
Write about what you enjoy rather than something you feel you should write about.
Post online, get feedback and use it to improve your style.
Just go for it and don't let anyone hold you back.
Encouraging students to write about what they love can inspire even the most reluctant writers. Publishing their work on websites like movellas.com is a novel way to display their achievements and could lead to bigger and better things. Just ask Emily.
Loving the Band is available at www.amazon.co.uk.