Alfie Roberts is a twelve year old paperboy who has lost his confidence and with it, his smile. To help him win the heart of Gemma, his classmate and muse, he must use his amazing artistic ability in a most unusual way. To add to Alfie’s troubles, he has started having recurring nightmares about a giant spider and his ideas for dealing with it may not be the best. Luckily, his sister, Emma is there to help, but in the end he will have to do it all himself.
Targeted Age Group:: 8-15
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The memory of a childhood spent withdrawn and lacking confidence inspired me to write the story of a boy who would end up managing to do something I did not achieve until I was a lot older. I wanted to give a boy a chance to enjoy being himself having suffered loss at an early age. I am also a great champion of creativity in general and being able to use art as a tool for self-improvement within the story was very important to me.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters are based on aspects of people I either know or have known. Some are combinations of children I went to school with, some are fairly close to family members and all are named after people I am close to.
“I KNOW YOU!” shouted Alfie.
The spider raised one of its sword-like legs and reached-out towards Alfie. He quickly drew his sword and a hellish crashing noise filled the forest as the sword and leg made contact.
Now, there was a whining noise, quieter; hurt-sounding.
Alfie took a step back and looked at the beast. The front leg it had raised was now tapping gently at the ground, almost looking for something; feeling its way around.
No. It wasn’t looking for something; it was trying to tell him something. The whining noise was subsiding into a kind of a simper. It was calling to him, asking him something.
Alfie edged closer and slowly offered his left hand, cautiously keeping his sword ready in his right. He touched the spider’s leg. Its movements softened, calming, becoming almost inviting. The spider was almost purring, now and amidst the sound, a faint and distant whisper.
“Stop hurting me. You’re supposed to be helping me.”
Alfie looked to the head of the beast. Its head looked like it was struggling, like something was suffocating beneath the thick, black, tar-like skin. He put a hand towards it, touched it and felt the skin start to fall away, revealing something beneath. There was hair, blonde and scruffy and skin, pale and cold. He dropped his sword and hurriedly pulled the black membrane away from the head that was being revealed before him, facing down, gasping for air.
The head coughed out a huge, stinking ball of black goo onto the ground that smelled so bad, it made Alfie turn his head away and almost made him sick on the spot.
The spider’s head, now able to breathe, turned towards Alfie, just as Alfie turned back to look at it.
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