A MOTHER and daughter from Littlehampton have become published authors within three months of each other.
Carol Thomas, a former teacher, had her book Crazy Over You published through Matador in October.
Then eight-year-old Madison, a pupil at Lyminster Primary School, was a winner in the new Write Across Sussex short story competition, run in partnership with Chichester-based independent authors group Chindi.
She met popular author Kate Mosse, who lives in Fishbourne, at the prize-giving ceremony in Woodies Wine Bar, Chichester, on Saturday.
Carol said: “Madison was initially nervous but loved meeting Kate Mosse and receiving her copy of the Chindi Write Across Sussex book, complete with her story in it. She even got to do her first book signing, as she signed a copy for Kate Mosse, along with the nine other prize winners.”
Bobby, Madison’s class mascot, was the inspiration for her story.
She had taken the patchwork owl home for the weekend and had the idea for Bobby Knows Best, her 500-word story with a moral.
Carol explained: “A hard to please little girl learns to appreciate what she has and to be a better person, as Bobby shows her that there are other children who are less fortunate in the world.
“I am hugely proud of Madison for writing her story. She spent several hours working on it and even asked her big sister, Amelia, to help her with improving some word choices – though Madison insisted on keeping her favourite line ‘butts are for sitting on’ in the story.
“Madison is a little girl with a very big heart. She is completely unlike the main character in her story and always thinks of others. I think her story, highlighting that there are children in need, is a reflection of this.
“Madison is so excited to have won. She loves to tell me that we are both authors now. Madison’s success means we have both been published within three months of each other.”
Carol was a teacher at Flora McDonald Junior School for 11 years, then White Meadows Primary Academy for a year.
She has always been interested in writing and kept notebooks at various times in her life.
“In 2012, I was taking a break from teaching. I dug out a notebook I felt had potential to be made into a story and decided it was time to give it a go. I made a start and just kept going until in 2014, I decided it was a story I was proud of and wanted to share.
“I was keen to retain control of my novel and wanted to self-publish. However, the teacher, and perfectionist, in me needed to be sure it was print-ready before I went ahead. I approached Matador, who are known for their quality control and have a sound reputation for producing quality self-published books. Several months, a few proof reads and a copy edit later my novel was ready.”
Crazy Over You is a contemporary romance, an honest portrayal of a woman’s reaction to her husband’s infidelity, available in paperback and as an ebook.
Carol said: “I had read other great novels on the theme of infidelity but often found that the impact of the affair on the central character tended to be side-lined in order to move forward with another, sometimes unrelated, aspect of the story.
“In writing Crazy Over You I felt I had something different to offer; the exploration of Abby’s feelings is very much part of the plot. In fact they are the driving force throughout the story.”
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