A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
I first realised I wanted to be a writer when I was 13, during the summer holidays. Up until that point, I was going to be a cartoonist, or a professional musician (I played the oboe, and I wasn’t very good at it). But that summer, I saw a film called Jurassic Park, and afterwards, I couldn’t stop thinking about it –this abandoned island stuffed to the gills with velociraptors and T-Rexes and brontosaurs, with derelict buildings slowly being reclaimed by jungle. I started to describe it to myself inside my head, until it became so real I could almost taste the humid air, feel the tropical rain dripping on my face and hear the distant roars of the creatures that had claimed the wreckage of the theme park as their own. So it seemed like a natural next step to start writing it down – something I’d never done before, although I was always making up stories inside my head.
Then I read the book, and found the scene at the end – not shown in the film – where *SPOILER ALERT!* the Costa Rican government destroy the island. I was devastated. My dinosaur-inhabited island didn’t – couldn’t – exist. I abandoned the book, tore the handful of pages I’d written out of my notebook, and tried, not very successfully, to forget about it.
My original copy of JP, quite literally read to pieces
But then I had a chat with my grandfather about the book which made me realise that I should have kept reading. Because right before that scene where the island gets bombed, one of the characters notes *SPOILER ALERT #2!* that some of the dinosaurs look like they’re trying to migrate. And right after that scene, at the very end of the book *SPOILER ALERT #3!*, there’s a mention of some activity by an unidentified species of animal on the Costa Rican mainland that follows a pattern very like that of a migration…
When school started again, I bought a new notebook and started writing. And carried on writing, mostly in maths lessons, with my notebook hidden under my work (not surprisingly, I’m VERY bad at maths now).
The term ‘fan fiction’ didn’t exist back then, but that was basically what my novel was. Title-less to this day, it followed the story of a policeman, Carl, who was sent into the Costa Rican rainforest to look for the migrating dinosaurs with a few of the characters from the original book. The plot was… messy. And dramatic. Oh, boy, was it dramatic. By page 43, there had been two dino attacks, a suicide, an explosion and a jeep crash. By page 115, a dream-death, a near-drowning, an earthquake and a landslip. But all that was merely a rehearsal for the ending. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the climactic scene…
It was only after Carl had been trying to find the others for another ten minutes that he realised he didn’t recognise his surroundings.
He was lost.
And it was nearly dark.
Now he was in a little clearing. There was a lot of leaf litter, and a stake at the edge. Several, in fact. They appeared to be in some kind of square formation. Unthinkingly, he stepped forward to get a closer look. The ground gave way beneath him with surprising suddeness (sic). Carl gave a cry of horror. The fall seemed to go on forever.
He hit the ground so hard that it knocked the wind out of him. He lay doubled up, gasping for air, eyes screwed up in pain. When he’d caught his breath, Carl rolled onto his back. He’d fallen into some kind of huge pit. The walls were twelve feet high.
He was trapped…
Yes. Unable to think how else to end my novel, I had my main character fall into a bear trap. Don’t worry, though; he not only got rescued, but engaged. And almost 20 years later, I’m still writing thrillers, with endings that are just as dramatic, but – I hope! – a lot more believable.
Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Her debut novel, dystopian thriller ACID, was the winner of the 2014 North East Teenage Book Award. THE FEARLESS, a post-apocalyptic thriller, was published in 2014. By day, she works as a library assistant. She lives with her husband and crazy greyhound G-Dog in the North East Midlands.