The story behind the idea
I wanted to write a series of books for children aimed at 6-8 year old’s. This concept is new to me, as the other project I’m working on (1st book in final edit at present) will hopefully be a trilogy, aimed at a YA audience aged 16 and above. But I’m not here to tell you about that.
The M.I.A.C series, tells the tales of young children, who for some reason or another, find themselves invited to Alphabet Cove.
Take Arlo for instance, he’s a very shy boy, who seldom talks. Ignored by his parents, Arlo ends up being sent to Mrs Butcher (the old lady next door who lives with 20 cats), where he spends every day after school and every holiday.
On Arlo’s eighth birthday, Mrs Butcher gives him an invitation. To where, he doesn’t know. But he follows the instructions, and soon finds himself whisked away to the mysterious island of Antoria. There, Arlo meets the strange creatures which inhabit the island.
I’ll stop there, as I don’t want to give too much away. You’ll have to read it to find out.
The mechanics behind the idea
I came upon the idea of writing this series of children’s books early one Sunday morning, back in June 2012.
First I made a list of character names, each corresponding to a different letter of the alphabet (of course), then spent an hour devising names for the islands. For example:
Arlo (Twittle) – the island of Antoria
Belinda (Crompton) – the island of Blomcat
Cecil (Snivers) – the island of Catmorne
—which are the first three characters and islands in the first book. There will be ten books in total.
Books 1-8 will contain three stories. Book 9 will contain two. Book 10, well, that’s the ending.
Please be aware, these stories are in the first draft stage, so any mistakes you may find, I’d really appreciate you letting me know. 😀
1. LET ME INTRODUCE YOU…
Arlo was the only child of Humphrey and Felicity Twittle.
A shy boy, with a mop of blonde hair, scrawny legs and socks that never seemed to stay up no matter how hard he pulled on them.
They lived at No.7, Swan Lane. A small house just big enough for the three of them. Inside, the walls were dull beige. In fact, everything about the house appeared dull, or practical as his mother called it. Outside was just as bad as the inside. There was no grass. No flowers. No swing or shed of any description. Just dreary, grey, paving slabs. Not really a garden suited for a child, but suited to Mr. Twittle who hated gardening, and Mrs. Twittle who hated mess.
He also had no friends to speak of, probably because he never talked that much, and his parents—who were very busy people indeed—sometimes forgot they even had a son, which was more times than he would care to admit and quite lonely to say the least.
You see, his father was a travelling salesman for ‘Stick-an’-Pick’. A small, but profitable business that sold wooden toothpicks to hotels and restaurants. Which according to Arlo wasn’t a very exciting job really? He would much prefer to be a racing driver or an astronaut. That seemed much more exciting.
Of course when his father was home, he would flop in the chair in front of the telly and watch football, or cricket, or any sport that took his fancy. Arlo spent that time dreaming of days in the park, playing those games with his father.
His mother, who was a rather pristine and neat woman, worked part-time at the local beauty parlour, and only spent time with him when she wanted to try out the latest make-up and beauty treatments. Poor Arlo was her favourite guinea pig, and although he felt pleased she noticed him for a change, he often wondered if her painting him like a clown was the right way to gain his mothers attention. Then the rest of the time she would invite friends to visit, or plan parties he never found himself invited to.
They did spend time together as a family on the odd occasion, but only when his father took a break from work and they would eat tea at the kitchen table. Arlo, however, would sit in silence, while his parents discussed their day without even realising he was there.
He often wondered why he was born at all. They never went on holiday. They never went to the cinema, and they never remembered his birthday.
So at every opportunity—which included every afternoon and school holiday—Arlo would be handed over to Mrs. Butcher, the old lady who lived next door. She, on the other hand, never forgot his birthday.
Mrs. Butcher was a strange lady, nice, but completely mad. Small and bent over so her head always faced the ground. Arlo would spend countless hours trying to work out how she never bumped into anything.
Her hair, a nest of frizzy silver-grey, reminded him of the wiry pads his mother used to wash the saucepans. Her eyes though, which he only saw when she sat, were the colour of a summer sky. She was always happy and when she laughed, it sounded like little bells ringing in the wind.
She lived in the tiny, ramshackle house next door, which she shared with twenty cats, or so he guessed, because they never stayed still long enough for him to count them properly, but Mrs. Butcher knew every name. The only thing Arlo didn’t like about her house was that it smelt terribly of cat food and wee. The front and back gardens were overgrown—Mrs. Butcher being too old or crookerty to tend them of course—and the grass stood as high as the top of his head. Not that he minded, he always had fun playing outside.
The one good thing Arlo had, was his colourful imagination. Many a day he’d spend time in Mrs. Butcher’s garden having big adventures pretending he was on safari. The cats magically changing into lions and cheetahs, where he would stalk them through the tall grass.
Nonetheless, no matter how hard he tried, he never succeeded in capturing any of them.
Some might say Arlos life was anything but fortunate. Not Arlo however, he knew he would always have Mrs. Butcher. And the cats, of course.Copyright © by Sarah Neeve
M.I.A.C, may not be copied, shared or unlawfully used without the prior consent of the author.