Red Fever


The writing of Red Fever is an exciting story in itself!

The winter of 2010 was a wild and stormy one with the North of Scotland being blasted by terrible snow storms. I live in the middle of the countryside, in an old farmhouse surrounded by fields and trees. One day, after being snowed in on my own for days, I read a magazine ad for The Kelpies Prize. It said they were looking for “a brilliant adventure story to be set wholly or partly in Scotland”, and was to be for eight to twelve year old. Trouble was – the deadline was in ten days’ time! There was a prize of £2,000 and a publishing deal – I was so cross with myself for not reading the ad before. How could I possibly write the 40,000 words they wanted, in ten days?

As I lay in my bed that night, listening to the howling wind, I wondered if I could come up with a story in ten days. I had no ideas at that point but went to sleep thinking about what the world would be like in a snow storm if you didn’t have electricity.  What if an epidemic had wiped out most of the world’s population and there was no-one to make electricity?

When I got up the next morning I had a  brilliant idea in my head. What about a story about a boy living in a world which had completely changed? There would be no phones, no electricity, no TV, no school, and……..

Once I had done all my chores, such as mucking out the horses and feeding the dog and cats, I sat down in front of my PC and started writing. I worked out that I needed to write 4,000 words every day, so I had to get on with it.

For ten days, I did nothing else but write (apart from looking after my animals, of course!) , so my house got dirty and my husband got hungry, but at the end of those ten days I had written 45,000 words.

I packed up my manuscript in a big jiffy bag and gave it to my husband to post as I still couldn’t get my little sports car through the snow to get out. Then I waited.

I waited for months and then in May I had a letter from Floris Books saying I had been shortlisted in the Kelpies Prize – I was so thrilled!

But I had to wait again until August to go to the award ceremony. On the night there were lots of people there, and two other authors who were also hoping to win. There were speeches, and then a proper storyteller read out extracts from the three books. When I had sent my book away I had given it the title of “SAVING SYLVIE” so when the winner was read out as “RED FEVER” it took me a moment to remember that Floris had asked if they could change the title. I was so surprised!

It was an amazing feeling getting to hold a huge cardboard cheque with my name written on it, for the sum of two thousand pounds. I was so proud of it I carried it all over Edinburgh to show it off to everybody. It now hangs in my office, over my desk and if I am having a bad day I look at it and feel reassured that I can write!

If you would like to read RED FEVER you can buy it from most bookshops or go online to Amazon. If I visit your school to talk to you about my book then I will bring copies to sell, at a discount price of £5.00, and I will sign it for you. If you want to ask your teacher to host an event you can ask them to go to EVENTS on this website to find out how do that.

If you want to find out what happens to my hero Toby after Red Fever,  his story continues in Black Tide  and again in Silver Storm. Go to their pages to read extracts from these exhilarating stories. 

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