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Wednesday, 7 March 2018

CHARLOTTE: STRAWBERRY LACES

Reader Charlotte writes about how CC truly inspired her! Read on...

Ever since I was younger, I dreamed of being an author, a writer. I didn’t have a ‘plan b’ or something to fall back onto and I still don’t because being an author is all I aspire to be. I'm only twelve, but you have to start young if you want to make it to the top, right? There's no point just leaping into it when you're older and hoping it'll all turn out for the best – you need to practice, plan it out and dream…

I discovered Cathy Cassidy's books  in year six when  a friend called Tallulah was browsing through INDIGO BLUE. I glanced over her shoulder and read a few pages. Sometime later, a few of my friends began to spend their break times leafing through CC books, giggling at the kissing scenes and talking about it out of school. I thought it might be a bit too old for me but in the summer holidays, without knowing it, I picked up SWEET HONEY! I loved every single page of it and then I realised it was part of a big series of books so, of course, I read them all and adored the whole collection.

My friends are obsessed with them too but we all have different preferences: I love SUMMER'S DREAM because it's about doing the impossible and wanting something with all your heart and soul. I think it's very relatable and I love it, especially with my dream of becoming an author. My friend Hannah is a major fan too – she goes to book signings and is always the first person to get a copy of a new book. If she finishes it before I can get a copy of it, I end up borrowing it after her.

Over that summer, I had read pretty much all of the CC books, including INDIGO BLUE. I cherished it like a treasure when one of my BFFs, Hazel, gave me it for my 12th birthday and I still have it in my room, along with my collection of the CHOCOLATE BOX series. I thought it was the best thing I had ever read – I love colour and my room is painted light blue with hearts, flowers shooting up from the floorboards and birds swooping around the door, so Indigo's flat was like a paradise and what I based my room on. I used to keep the lights off in my room and hide under the covers with a torch and the book. In short, I was gripped to the world of Cathy Cassidy.

I've always been writing stories ever since I could hold a pencil and I have dozens of little notebooks scattered all over the house. When I was in year six, I started using the computer to write up my stories – a huge step for me as I'm terrible with computers. It was good for typos though, because I am unforgivingly bad at spelling. Then, I guess I just started to write.

I opened a new document and – making the best decision of my entire life – typed STRAWBERRY LACES in block capital letters at the top. I spent the whole summer holiday typing away, begging dad to let me use the computer from time to time and partly saving up to by myself my own laptop. I did get one eventually,  a blue laptop bought with my own money. I sent Strawberry Laces to the new laptop and began to work away. I told my friends what I was doing, and they were really impressed, saying they couldn't wait for it to be finished, asking would it be published, who would get the first copy… I was overcome with questions, questions I hadn't even thought of yet. I finished it halfway through year seven and then we got it spell-checked and I read through it again and again and again… correcting, polishing, adding extra words in, deleting phrases. After that, I worked on the front page. I bought lots of packets of strawberry laces then drew out the shape of the girl and then stuck them on, looping and twisting to get them perfect. Mum snapped a photo, then sent it off to work. That was the front cover sorted! We asked for twenty copies to be printed, and one evening we had to go and pick up a huge box filled with all of them.

I lugged a few copies to school the next day to give to friends and to the school librarians, my English teacher, and to the head of our year. I signed most of them and everyone keeps asking when the next one's going to be out. I guess, I've got myself a big job to do. The next one's called PARMA VIOLETS, by the way!

Cathy says:
Thank you Charlotte! I always get emotional reading these kinds of stories. To inspire even one young person to start writing and using their imagination makes all the hard work worthwhile! Do YOU have similar stories? Tell me in the COMMENTS SECTION below...

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