EDIE, DAN AND LAURA is an Upper Middle Grade contemporary novel at 64,000 words, written in diary format.

Since her mum died, all that fifteen-year-old Edie “Mouse” Jones wants is to keep her fragile family unit together. But when her older brother can’t take the pressure of parental responsibility and seeks solace in the arms of a far-right hate group, her beloved family starts to break apart.

Deciding it’s time to shed her mouse-like reputation and stand up for what’s right, Edie reconnects with big-sister Laura, who has been living a separate life filled with love, support and acceptance since leaving the family home. Now, with Laura back in her life, Edie must convince Dan to quit the party that is stripping away his humanity, or risk losing what’s left of her family for good.

Billy Elliot meets This is England,Edie’s quirky outlook allows her to find hope and humour in the bleakest of places as she is forced to open her eyes and see that ignorance is no longer an option. Her dysfunctional family must confront issues of which they have no understanding, such as those in When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah.

I work in insurance, and have been writing seriously for three years. As well as being part of a local writing group, I was selected for the WriteMentor programme in 2018 and 2019. Edie, Dan and Laura is set in my home town, an area known for grooming-ring scandals and far-right rallies, and is an exploration of hope for the future if the next generation have the courage to stand up against bigoted behaviour.

I hope you like what you see, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours,

Tess James-Mackey

 

Edie

 

Tuesday 2nd October, 5pm

I think I’m supposed to cry more.

Laura has permanently red, puffy eyes, and Dan has this kind of haunted look. But I feel kind of…distant, I guess. Like someone else’s mum died, not mine.

I was scared that if I didn’t cry our grief counsellor, Ami, would have me locked up in some kind of home for the emotionally detached. So when she asked how we were doing, I hid behind a tissue and sniffed a bit. I’m not sure how convincing I was, because when I peeked she was watching me with a strange expression.

“Maybe it would help,” she suggested, “if you wrote things down?”

If Ami had been a teacher, I’d have gone into shutdown mode, which involves a lot of staring out of the window and shrugging. But I promised to give it a go, and as soon as I got home from school, I rummaged around our bedroom and found an old notebook, ripped my embarrassing attempt at Pythagoras’s theorem out of the front and flung myself onto Laura’s bed. I’ve chewed the end of my biro so much that the plastic cracked and ink flooded my mouth, dribbling onto her bedsheets. She doesn’t sleep in here anymore, but I reckon she’d still go nuts if she saw it.

I haven’t written anything for twelve minutes now…I have absolutely nothing to say.

Question: Why is my nickname Mouse?

  1. I love cheese
  2. Squeaky voice
  3. I’m small and insignificant

The only cheese I like is the orange grated one, and I don’t talk enough to be known for my squeaky voice, so that leaves option c. This is going to be the world’s dullest diary.

I think Ami was hoping we would write and write and before we knew it all these feelings about Mum and what happened to her would come pouring out.

But really, what is there to say? There is no story, no pent-up emotions, no need for answers. She had cancer, she died, the end.

Those are the exact words Laura used when she told Ami that she wasn’t keeping a diary and that counselling was pointless. She left fifteen minutes into our first session, with Dan shouting after her, “We only get ten of these for free, and you’ve just wasted one of them!”

That’s how Dan speaks nowadays, like he’s a proper adult, not our eighteen-year-old brother. And he’s a hypocrite anyway – he was all grumpy and complaining about ‘head shrinkers’ before we went in.

But then he saw Ami and, suddenly, he was interested. I think she’d have that effect on anyone. Did I say she was beautiful? I mean, properlybeautiful. Like, she should be in Hollywood or something, not slumming it in Wellington with us lowly mortals. I think part of her counselling skills involve the ability to hypnotise people with her long, silky hair and eyes that are exactly the same shade of rich brown.