City of Norwich School 13-year-old writes first part of a book, and wants to get it published

A teenager is following in the footsteps of top children's authors Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo by aiming to publish her book about the adventures of a fictional girl explorer.

Lily McDonnell, who is 13 and at the City of Norwich School, has also drawn the illustrations for the book, The Adventures of Suzie Sweet, which will detail the exciting experiences of a young girl on an island. She has called the first part of the book the Adventures of Suzie and Mew, with Mew being a chameleon she meets.

The teenager, from Poplar Avenue, off Newmarket Road, said: 'I have been planning the book in my head for ages, and I have now finished the first adventure and started on the second, which will be called Suzie has Hiccups.

'I don't know how many adventures there will be yet, but when it's finished I will write it up on a computer and send it off to a publisher. It would mean the world to me if it was published.'

The book is mainly inspired by Lily's five-year-old sister, Yona. She added: 'I have a little sister who is so sweet and loud. I love her and she means the world to me. Suzie is based on Yona but is a little bit older. I hope to read the book to her when it's finished.

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'In the book Suzie's parents live in Australia and she's living on an island. She gets to choose the name of the special island, which is hidden on the map under the 't' in Atlantic, and she calls it Suzie's island.

'I also get inspiration from what happens to me in my daily life, although I don't live the most adventurous life. I don't force myself to write, it just comes. I also love animals and there are animals in the book. I will add a few non-fiction facts about animals into the book.'

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The multi-talented youngster can also draw and play the viola. It's not the first book she has written, but she said the others weren't worthy of publication. She also sent a short story to Radio 2 about an African slave.

Not surprisingly, English is her favourite subject at school and she reads a lot. She added: 'I love Jacqueline Wilson who wrote 'Lily Alone' and Tracey Beaker, and Michael Morpurgo. I have not read any of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books, but I need to.' Lily admits she has not told her parents or the teachers much about the book. She said her mother Christen McDonnell, who runs her own care business for the elderly, said 'That's nice'. She added: 'I'm quite independent. My friend at school wanted to write the book with me but I wanted to do it on my own.'

Her English teacher Emily Smith said: 'This is a fantastic opportunity for Lily. She's a very creative and talented student and we cannot wait to read it when it's finished. We are very proud of her achievements.'

The school's pastoral manager Jane Allen added: 'She's a delightful girl and always has a smile on her face. She's enthusiastic and everything you could want in a student.' When she leaves school she wants to be a writer, a journalist or a scientist.

Do you know a student with a story to tell? Call David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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