Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Laura WarmingerThe Great Prime Minister SwapHelen HarveyMGContemporary39000

The Great Prime Minister Swap is a Middle Grade contemporary novel, complete at 39,000 words. It was written especially for my daughter, who had outgrown her adored Kes Gray’s series of Daisy books, but would sit happily beside Mark Lowery, Lara Williamson and Jenny Pearson.

Katie Ramble is a vlog superstar, but only in her head. Mum can’t afford wi-fi or an iPhone so she has to imagine her mega amazing videos. Mum just doesn’t have the money to send Katie on the Year Six trip either, but Katie is desperate not to be the only one in the whole year group who will never get to sleep in a yurt.

The Prime Minister is touring the country’s pound shops trying to prove she understands how the common people live, when her car breaks down outside Katie’s flat on the Morton Estate. Katie’s mum, angered by the PM’s lack of empathy, challenges the Prime Minister to swap places for a week. The family find themselves living in Downing Street and Katie’s eyes are opened to a life beyond Morton.

However, Katie quickly discovers that MP Edward Rankin and his scruffy reporter friend Mr Knight are plotting to unseat the PM. Katie must stop Edward Rankin from stealing the Prime Minister’s job before he exposes the family’s secrets in front of the whole country.

This year I won the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices 2020 competition and have had various short stories and flash fiction published in anthologies. I live in Norfolk and have spent the last ten years working as a receptionist for a local school. Through this I have met lots of amazing children, some of whom have had very difficult experiences. I like to include characters in my books that perhaps haven’t had things easy but approach life with optimism and humour. Why shouldn’t children from council estates get to go on brilliant adventures and believe that they have the power to change the world?

Thank you for taking the time to read my first 500 words.

Best wishes,
Laura Warminger

The Great Prime Minister Swap
Chapter One

“When you say maybe, that really means no.” I press my forehead to the dirty glass of the bus window, desperate to catch some of the cool air that’s coming in as we drive along.  

“For heaven’s sake, Katie, no means no. Maybe means I’m thinking about saying no.” Mum pulls Benji up onto her lap in an effort to get him to sit still.

One day, when I’m a superstar vlogger, we won’t have to get the bus home from school. I hate the bus. It smells of sweat and cheese and onion crisps. “Everyone else is going. I’ll be the only one who isn’t.”  

“I’m sure that’s not true. Sit still, Benji, almost home.” Mum starts whistling softly as Benji likes this. 

“Please, Mum, I really want to go. Mrs Osbourne said that we’ll get to go climbing and rafting. There’re going to be these yurk things to sleep in and we can have a campfire at night. Everyone is saying it will be the best Year Six trip ever.” I try to see Mum’s face past Benji’s head as he pulls her mouth open to try and figure out where the whistle comes from. “You’re not listening, Mum!”

“It’s yurt not yurk. I am listening. Get ready to press the bell, we’re almost at our stop.” Mum scoops up her bag whilst Benji is busy peering into her mouth. 

“We could ask Dad if he would give me some money. You could ring him tonight.” My voice is a little too loud now. 

“Your Dad’s under a bit of a black cloud at the moment. I don’t think now’s a good time to be asking him anything. Press the bell now. Come on, Benji, down you get or we’ll miss our stop.” Benji starts to cry. He hates walking up the bus when it’s moving.

“Mum, please. If you don’t go you have to spend the week in Year Five. Listen, Mum.”

“Bell, Katie, press the bell.” Mum tries to carry Benji and the bags as the bus lurches to a stop. “I’m so sorry.” Mum nearly falls into the lap of the man in the seat opposite. I watch her set off up the aisle trying not to hit anybody with the bag on her shoulder. 

I press the bell, but stay firmly on the seat. I don’t want to get off the bus. If Mum is going to say no, then I want to stay on it until it takes me somewhere else. Somewhere far, far away. Where people sleep in yurks.

Mum stands beside the driver and shoots me a glare. “Katie Anne Ramble, let’s get off this bus. I’d rather not sell tickets to one of your performances, thank you!”

Nearly everyone on the whole bus turns to look at me. Under the weight of the stares, I stomp my way slowly up the aisle.