Long before there was Downton Abbey, there was Dandelion Abbey.
"Dandylion Abbey stood strong and steady on her neat rows of reddish stone. It was a beautiful Abbey and a tall one too. It had two iron gates, beautifully designed by Maiya Goodfound, an ancient mouse, who had died a long time ago. Now in the Abbey lived peaceful woodlanders."
It was a novel written by an 11 year old who had just finished the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. Think The Lord of Rings if the hobbits were field mice and the Orcs were rats.
I remember writing it as if it were yesterday, on the floor of my bedroom, one hand lost under the sleeve I was forever sniffing, the other scribbling in blue biro. The middle part was tough. Isn't it always? I'd reached a sort of plateau where nothing was really happening. The rats were journeying towards the Abbey, the Abbey dwellers were standing around worrying about the rats. It was starting to feel a bit too much like hard work. God knows why I didn't just go play.
I stuck it out to the battle scene, and then the triumphant feast. I even wrote an epilogue.
I've got boxes of handwritten novels. Books that were influenced by whatever I was reading at the time, from Enid Blyton's Mallory Towers to Point Horror Books, The Deptford Histories and Jane Austen.
I found Dandelion Abbey last weekend in my parents attic. It wasn't random. I was looking for it. I wanted to remember where it all began. I wanted to connect with a younger version of myself.I've started a book that I'm going to get published, I wrote in my diary, about Dandelion Abbey.
I didn't even know what a literary agent was back then.
Now 18 years later, I've just signed with Laura Longrigg at MBA. That's a huge one to tick off my list. I'm still pinching myself.
This is it! A voice whispers in my head. You know that writing career you've always wanted? You can have it!
Of course nothing is certain. There's a lot of work to be done. But I love it! I'm thrilled to have taken this step and deeply grateful to all those who have supported me since the beginning, and who support me now.
"I'm sorry to say lots of friends and relations were killed in battle, but their spirit lives in the Abbey with the 'Golden One'. It is very hot out in the orchard. Waterbubble and Chip and all the small animals are having sports day, Waterbubble isn't controlling them very well. Flufftail has brought out some cream cake, I must get some before the rest get it all. I'll put down my quill and I'll go and join the food - Samskiel, Abbey Writer."
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