Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Danielle DaleThe Curry CatastropheHelen HarveyCBFunny16000

The Curry Catastrophe is a feline comedy for 7-9s with series potential, complete at 16,000 words.

Narrated by the self-styled ‘greatest cat burglars this side of Fat Rat Hill’, this is a story of feline friendship, positivity, courage and claw-ful cat puns, which will appeal to readers of the Dave Pigeon or Dog Diaries series. 

Scruffball is the leader; daring, adventurous and full of cataclysmically good ideas. According to her that is. Grumpy Face is an opera singing yoga guru, whose hilarious poses come in handy when trying to outwit prison guards or sneaky seagulls.

When a chicken curry robbery goes wrong, the alley cat criminals find themselves behind bars for the first time in their lives. They fall in with the Long-timers (cats nobody wants to adopt), who scare them with terrifying tales of the CATNAPPERS. Scruffball and Grumpy Face make up their minds to escape, vowing to give up their life of crime and open a feline yoga retreat. Then…catastrophe! A little girl wants to adopt the alley cats and will return in 3 days to collect them. Panicking, Scruffball plans a series of increasingly hilarious escape attempts. Will the alley cats break free before the catnapper returns? And can they convince the Long-timers to join them? 

The Curry Catastrophe was shortlisted in the 2020 Write Mentor Children’s Novel Award, and a second chapter book, The Mind Boggling Adventures of Cark Parker, reached the longlist. My fairytale, Jackson and the Giant Beanstalk Competition, was recently shortlisted in the 2020 RNIB illustrated story competition. In 2018, I graduated from the University of Winchester with an MA in Writing for Children (distinction). It was there that I discovered a love for funny young fiction. I’m passionate about engaging reluctant readers, which is a key motivator in my writing. I live in the South Downs with my family and a black rescue cat who doesn’t look good in photos. 

Thank you for your consideration.


A big MEOW to my favourite furballs! 

If you’re reading this, it means you’ve got your lucky paws on the very first Survival Guide for Alley Cats. As you know my feline friends, life on the streets isn’t always a river of salmon. More like a murky pond. If you dip your paw in, you never know what you’re going to find. Some days you get nothing but pond weed. Other days, a nice juicy fish leaps straight into your jaws. I call these BIG FISH days and they are the BEST! 
Speaking of fish, I hear the rattle of the Fish and Chip shop door. It’s dinner time! I must get there before the gigantic pirate seagulls gobble up MY food!

Nips and scratches, 
Scruffball x 

p.s. Whatever happens, don’t share this book with human catnappers, mad dogs or sneaky seagulls. It contains TOP SECRET tips and BRILLIANT and DARING escape plans. It is for CAT’S EYES only. 

Grumpy Face: Aren’t you forgetting someone, Scruffball?
Me: Be patient, Grumpy Face. This is MY book and I want to talk about ME. After all, I am the greatest cat burglar this side of Fat Rat Hill. 
Grumpy Face: Hmmm
Me: Aha! Fooled you! Of course, I wouldn’t forget my partner-in crime. You may not be quite as brave and daring as me, Grumpy Face, but you are brilliant at singing and yoga. Two very handy skills for a master cat criminal to have.  
Grumpy Face: Thanks. I feel like I could almost smile. 
Me: Really?
Grumpy Face: No
Me: Phew! Otherwise you’d have to change your name. 
Grumpy Face: True
Me: Anyway, we mustn’t keep our feline fans waiting. This is a story that every moggy on cat’s earth wants to read… 

Chapter 1 Operation Caterwaul 

It was the day of the Great Chicken Curry Robbery. That’s when our lives changed forever.

We’d done lots of robberies before, Grumpy Face and me. We were cat partners in crime. But this time, it went a bit wrong. Actually, it went a lot wrong. It was a CAT-astrophe! It was the Cattiest Catastrophe known to Catkind. 

The day had started well. Grumpy Face always starts the day with yoga:

The Forward Facing Feline

The Whisker Widener

And her favourite…The Pot Plant

I joined in with my Sleeping Cat pose. I’m not so good at yoga, but I’m very good at the Sleeping Cat. 

After all that hard work, it was time for breakfast. 

Grumpy Face and I were just searching through the bins behind the fish and chip shop, like we did every morning. We found a few soggy chips and a couple of fish tails. Not exactly a banquet, but you take what you find when you’re an alley cat.