Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Kate ChapmanGhost GirlJenni SpanglerMGMagical realism / humour / mystery / fantasy52000

Who believes in things they can’t see? Not twelve-year-old Clara Clutterbuck who refuses to accept that her mum and gran have psychic powers.

Ridiculed at school over her family’s so-called abilities, Clara starts hearing ghostly voices herself after suffering a nasty blow to the head. One of them belongs to her grandpa, whose spirit hints at a long-held family secret – but can Clara use her new-found talent to unlock the secret of her dad’s mysterious disappearance?

Everyone believes he is the notorious thief who stole the priceless Star of Prussia jewels from Alfredo’s Magnificent Circus. Clara’s sixth sense says otherwise and helped by school pal, lovable misfit Arjun Patel, she sets out to prove her dad wasn’t the criminal mastermind everyone thinks.

It’s a race against time as a local newspaper reporter is on the case too – determined to expose the truth and publicly shame Clara’s family for her dad’s crimes. Can she crack the case and prove his innocence before the shocking story hits the front page?

Ghost Girl is a contemporary magical realism mid-grade novel – with elements of humour, mystery and supernatural/fantasy. Complete at 52,000 words, it would appeal to fans of Ross Welford and MG Leonard’s mystery stories. Long listed for the Write Mentor Children’s Novel Award 2020, Ghost Girl is a stand-alone book with series potential.

I’m a journalist by trade, with almost 20 years’ experience and for the last decade have been freelance, with bylines in everything from Woman’s Weekly to Farmers Weekly. 

I’m married to a potato farmer, am a mum of two and in my spare time enjoy reading, running and baking (doing the second means I don’t feel so guilty eating the spoils from the third!)


‘Hey, Clara! Claaaaara, look out! Duck!’

I turned to see who was calling my name, but it was too late. A bright red comet-like blur streaked through the sky above the school sports field. It was heading right towards me, but I was rooted to the spot, there was nothing I could do to move and then – THWACK! – it hit me between the eyes. Hard. 

The force of the blow sent my glasses skittering across the playground and the books I was carrying quickly followed suit as I tumbled over, crashing to the ground. It was like one of those slow-motion cartoons you see on the TV. Then everything went black. 

I was only out of it for a couple of minutes, but when I came to, a sea of blurry faces had gathered around, peering over me as I lay sprawled on the cold concrete. Mr Cheeseman, our PE teacher was shouting for someone to ‘Dial 999’. When no-one responded I could hear him frantically yelling at anyone listening to ‘Call an ambulance – NOW!’

I tried to sit up, but he kept pushing me back down. As he turned to shout for help again, the dozen whistles hanging around his neck dangled in my face, roughly jabbing the spot where the cricket ball had made contact a few minutes earlier.

‘Fine… Sir… I….. honestly,’ I said, struggling to get my words in order as I forced myself up onto my elbows. My attempts to convince him there was no need for any fuss and certainly no need for an ambulance failing miserably. That’s when I saw the lake of crimson blood pooling around my elbow – and Arjun Patel.

He’s the rather annoying boy who sits at the back of my class and never pays attention. Now he was face down on the floor beside me. He’d stopped me on my way to the canteen to tell me how his hamster Jaws had eaten his homework. Again. I mean seriously, who calls a hamster Jaws?

As I found out later, he’d fainted and smashed his nose on the playground after I was knocked over. I couldn’t see properly, everything kept swimming about in front of me in a messy, hazy blur and the spot between my eyes really hurt – even more than when I broke my arm falling off the swing when I was six.

As I drifted in and out of consciousness I could hear Arjun whimpering, ‘No please, you can’t put that up my nose – it’ll never fit!’

Then the paramedic turned to me and made a funny sound – like a rush of air escaping a balloon – and said, ‘Ouch! That looks nasty!’

That’s the last thing I remember before it all went black – again.

When I next came to, I was in a small hospital room all alone. My head throbbed – front and back – and felt like it was about to explode. And that’s when the funny stuff really started.