So you want to be a best-selling writer? Read on... 

24/01/2012 00:00 

Award winning teen author Sophie McKenzie kept young patients spellbound when she read extracts from one of her best-selling thrillers – transporting them to a world far away from the hospital ward.

Sophie McKenzie

Sophie McKenzie

Then she inspired them with tips and advice on how they might follow in her footsteps to become an author.

“When I was a young teenager I dreamed of publishing a book. I wrote a story in English class with lots of graphic and rather gruesome descriptions. My teacher said it was ‘sensationalist nonsense’ but my classmates loved it and asked me to reread extracts to them after the lesson. It was then I realised how much I wanted to write and share my stories with others.”

It was, however, many years before she realised her teenage dream. “As I grew up I forgot my dream but after I was made redundant from my job as a journalist, I joined a creative writing class. It was very hard at times but my advice to any young writer would be to read a lot and write a lot – just keep going!”

See her website for more advice:

Sophie found huge acclaim following the publication of her first novel Girl, Missing in 2006. Since then she has won numerous awards.

“It’s always a pleasure to meet teenagers, who are the main readers of my stories, and very inspiring to visit the young patients at UCH – many of whom are battling pain and anxiety on a daily basis. My son was born at UCH 16 years ago – so I feel I have a special connection to it.”

Sophie McKenzie presented young patients at UCH with signed copies of her books

Sophie McKenzie presented young patients at UCH with signed copies of her books

The event was organised with the help of Starlight Children’s Foundation, a national charity that brightens the lives of sick children and young people, and publishers Simon and Schuster. The national venture Starlight Storytellers organises hospital and hospice visits for authors, illustrators and storytellers.

Laura Walter, activities coordinator at University College Hospital, said:” It was wonderful to welcome Sophie to our Young Persons Unit and everyone really enjoyed meeting her.

"A lot of the teens are here on long-term stays and Sophie’s visit really helped to take their minds off their conditions and treatment and it certainly gave them a good dose of inspiration!”

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