Flicking between radio stations on the way to work in the dark and the wet this morning, I stumbled upon BBC Oxford – yes, yes, I know, how could I even think about stooping so low…?!!

Anyway I heard an interview with the 16-year old Rachael Wing who has just had her first novel published by Scholastic, after they found it on the writing website Quizilla (this is a new one on me, ‘cos I thought Quizilla was just the source of those annoying – sometimes mildly amusing – internet memes).

PRESS RELEASE: Star-Crossed
by Rachael Wing

Scholastic Children’s Books are proud to be publishing Star-Crossed in January 2007. This fantastic book for teenage girls is a really special publication as it has been written by a teenage girl called Rachael Wing.

Rachael started writing Star-Crossed when she was 14 years old. As she wrote each chapter Rachael posted it on to an internet writing website called Quizilla. It wasn’t long before Star-Crossed had a cult following of over a thousand online readers and shot to Quizilla’s number one spot of highest rated entries. Buoyed by her online popularity and pleas from her friends, Rachael juggled schoolwork, sitting her SATs and writing to finish the story.

Scholastic Children’s Books picked up on this online phenomenon – a book which was already a proven success with teenager readers – and signed Rachael up.

Rachael has just turned 16 and is about to see Star-Crossed hit the shelves with wide anticipation from booksellers and the media.

Rachael lives near Oxford and is currently studying for her GCSEs. She has travelled all over the world through her interest in drama and the creative arts. Rachael feels passionately about empowering young people to develop their talents outside the school curriculum, and recognises that the internet is a powerful tool for this end:

“I use the internet a lot and realized one day that I could actually do my hobbies online. There isn’t much time at school for creative writing so this was a way I could do the thing I loved and share it with people. But I never dreamed Star-Crossed would actually get made into a book!”

Rachael is an example of a talented and ambitious young person chasing her dream – a refreshing change to the stories in the news so often featuring troubled or out-of-control teenagers.

When she’s not writing, Rachael loves spending time MSN-ing with her friends, shopping in Oxford, and eating Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream!

Star-Crossed is based loosely on Romeo and Juliet, bringing this classic story up-to-date with a contemporary setting in an English school. Told in the unusual second person, Rachael’s writing style immediately grabs the reader’s attention. The authenticity of her writing makes the characters believable – they act, talk and feel like real teenagers. All this combined with a compelling love story, moments of true comedy and a fast-moving plot make Star-Crossed the book to read in 2007.

Star-Crossed publishing 8th January 2007 – £5.99 – ISBN: 978 0439 943031

Am I allowed to be just a little bit jealous?