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'It was surreal' - teen writes book with childhood hero after sending fan letter

PUBLISHED: 17:56 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:58 08 October 2019

Taryn Everdeen stayed at Carolyn Meyer's appartment in Albuquerque for month where they drafted their first novel together. Picture: Taryn Everdeen

Taryn Everdeen stayed at Carolyn Meyer's appartment in Albuquerque for month where they drafted their first novel together. Picture: Taryn Everdeen

Archant

A Norwich teenager has crossed the Atlantic solo and defied intergenerational conflict to write a book with her favourite 84-year-old author.

The pair began drafting their novel on Google Docs before meeting for the first time in Norfolk. Picture: Taryn EverdeenThe pair began drafting their novel on Google Docs before meeting for the first time in Norfolk. Picture: Taryn Everdeen

Taryn Everdeen had no expectation when she wrote a fan letter to her childhood hero three years ago, Albuquerque-based author Carolyn Meyer, aged just 15.

But in just one day, the former Paston College student received a response that would lead to an unlikely friendship and a collaborative novel, partly set in Happisburgh in Norfolk.

Taryn, now 18, who grew up in Stalham, said: "Carolyn wrote back to me and said that she felt a connection as she had seen my music videos online. It was the weirdest feeling when I heard back from her. I wasn't expecting anything at all. It's so surreal hearing that your favourite author wants to collaborate with you. It's so bizarre: you just don't hear about that happening at all."

Taryn Everdeen and Carolyn Meyer's novel is partly set in Happisburgh in Norfolk. Picture: Taryn EverdeenTaryn Everdeen and Carolyn Meyer's novel is partly set in Happisburgh in Norfolk. Picture: Taryn Everdeen

The duo began writing their novel immediately, sharing drafts on Google Docs, before Ms Meyer visited in Norfolk in 2018 and met Taryn for the first time.

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Taryn said: "It wasn't awkward at all. There was just an immediate connection. It's so nice to meet your hero and them not to let you down. We worked side by side for a week in Norfolk and then we did loads of other cool things as well, like hang out in Oxford and London."

She also said Ms Meyer, who has written more than 60 children's books, was empowering and had a refreshing take on life.

Taryn said: "She was nothing like a conventional 84-year-old. She's just not set in her ways and is very open-minded. I really admire how she throws herself into things. She is definitely not slowing down, she is speeding up. I struggled to keep up with her sometimes. Age isn't a big thing to me in my friendships - it's personalities that click."

Taryn then embarked on a solo trip this year during a gap year to New Mexico to stay at Ms Meyer's apartment, where they completed the first draft in just one month.

She said: "I feel really honoured to have written it with Carolyn, especially as she said this would be her last young adults novel. She is now pursuing a career as a comedian - it's incredible."

The book, a time travel novel, is set in both Norfolk and America and tells the tale of an encounter between two teenagers of different historical eras.

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