From a very early age, I knew I would always love books. I remember even from being about two years old how excited I would be when my mum would tell me we were going to the library: to me, there was nothing better than sitting down and being read a story; anything could happen as the pages turned.
Predictably, once I joined school, my love for books and, as a result, writing, grew. By the time I was six, I was flying through all of my Charlie and Lola books, so quickly that my mum was inspired to give me a beautiful book she had bought me years before and had intended to give to me when I was older; a thick book filled with classic fairytales, complete with stunning illustrations—and advanced writing. I adored that book, and I have treasured it ever since. I would say that was my first favourite book.
With my love of reading, encouraged further by my mum, who was willing to buy new books whenever I finished the ones I had and who suggested I try books with a more sophisticated style in order to enhance my vocabulary, I soon had a list of favourites that were aimed at older children, including The Naughtiest Girl in the School series by Enid Blyton, The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo, The Puppy series by Anna Wilson, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, The Nine Lives of Montezuma by Michael Morpurgo, Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, and Matilda by Roald Dahl. I also fell in love (and became completely obsessed) with Cathy Cassidy books; I adored the stories and I quickly developed emotional attachments with the characters. It was these stories, and Cathy’s writing style, that inspired me to first start writing.
In November 2011, when I was in Year 4 of primary school, I published my first book—a non-fiction teaching the principles of the worldwide craze that was the Moshi Monsters game. Whether you’re an eight year old (as I was as the time) or a fully grown adult, this kind of achievement is huge, and I remember the feeling of seeing my own words in print, and recognising the potential—and likelihood—for people to read (and hopefully enjoy!) what I had written.
After publishing my first book, writing became an addiction, and I knew I wanted to continue on with my career by authoring more books. When I was nine, I read my first adult book, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, which is still my favourite book to this day. Since that first experience with Lauren Oliver, I have adored reading her books, and I went on to read and love the Delirium series after that. Shortly after, I read Stolen by Lucy Christopher, which was breath-taking, and then I became immersed in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, with my mum then introducing me to Harlan Coben, an extremely talented thriller writer, who took me on many, many emotional rollercoaster rides as I sat devouring his work. Here are a few of my favourite books today:
- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
- The Delirium series by Lauren Oliver
- Panic by Lauren Oliver
- Stolen by Lucy Christopher
- The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
- Tell No One by Harlan Coben
- No Second Chance by Harlan Coben
- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
- Divergent series by Veronica Roth
- Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
- The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
- One For My Baby by Tony Parsons
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
- My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
- Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
- The Matched series by Ally Condie
All of these books are unforgettable, and I love them all in completely different ways: Harlan Coben’s books for when I am seeking an adrenaline-filled adventure; Thirteen Reasons Why for the twists and turns, and how the story unfolds; My Sister’s Keeper for the spectacular twist, and in appreciation of the time, effort and research that went into this story; Little Women for a number of reasons, including the fact it is so beautifully written and heart-achingly realistic. I could praise and write about these books all day, but it is enough to say all of these books, in different ways, have inspired me and given me amazing experiences as a reader.
My love of reading and the recognition that books take readers on an emotional journey have encouraged my desire to write books. At the present time, I am working on my first fiction series, Charm Bracelet Girls, with the first book, The Friendship Flame, set for publication very soon! My passion and drive keep me pushing forward in mind of achieving my writing goals, but I am also inspired by, and grateful to, a number of different people, all of whom have played, and continue to play, a key role in my aspirations:
My mum, Hayley Paige, who is also my editor, publisher, manager and advisor, my friend and shoulder to cry on; she is my rock, my absolute world, and I would be nowhere without her. She has started from nothing, working her way up without help or support, setting up editing businesses, and a publishing house, Notebook Publishing—all while being a single mummy. I am so grateful to have her. She is everything I need.
My little sister, Amelia, who always manages to make me laugh, and who, even for a little girl of such a young age, has such a caring and compassionate nature that always inspires me to take a step back and approach life with a more considerate heart. I am so proud to be able to watch her grow, and to be called her sister.
My best friend, Emma Johnson, who has put up with my tantrums and tears, and who has always encouraged me to aim for the stars, always giving me amazing, constructive feedback, and has held my hand whilst having my back through everything.
My two aunties, Laura and Samantha: both have listened to my worries and given me honest and genuine feedback, and never-wavering love.
Harlan Coben, Lauren Oliver and Cathy Cassidy, for inspiring me with their stories, giving me the drive to write.
And, of course, I could never forget my two cats, Ayla and Oliver, who are there for cuddles whenever I’ve felt down. They give me unconditional love and affection, and are a source of amusement and laughter at all times!
Now, more than ever before, I am determined to work towards achieving my dreams. Through watching my mum and seeing that dreams really can become reality, I have learnt that hard work pays off—and that success is measured by actually trying.