Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Sharon HopwoodMaddie MastersHannah GoldMGAction – Adventure40000

MADDIE MASTERS is a MG contemporary action story of 40,000 words about a big-hearted girl who doesn’t quit. She’s part girl, part boxer – all champ.

Maddie yearns to become a boxing champion just like her father did. And you can’t break promises – especially to dead people. But when she’s faced with moving to The Ditch, an estate where crime is high and no-one believes in dreams, Maddie has two choices; go the distance or let life knock her down. 

This is a book particularly close to my heart as I grew up on inner-city council estates in Northern Ireland and Birmingham. It was through my love of boxing that I learned to fight for a better life for myself and I hope the rawness and power of Maddie’s story proves that dreams can come true no matter your background.
Maddie’s story will appeal to readers of Cathy Cassidy and Jacqueline Wilson and can be summed up as Rocky for girls.

I am an active member of SCBWI and Write Mentor and have completed a Curtis Brown Creative Writing for Children course. Most importantly, I now feel ready to take my writing to the next level and find an agent who can realise Maddie Master’s commercial potential in a market that, I believe, is crying out for inspiring stories set in working-class environments.

Finally, I am also a 4th Dan Black Belt in British Free Fighting and the Principal Instructor at a Fight Centre where I teach children confidence through self-defence. 

I hope you enjoy reading my submission as much as I have loved writing it.

Chapter One – Maddie Masters

I stood in the centre of the boxing ring ready to fight the only opponent that I, Maddie Masters had ever lost to. My stomach churned. I mean it proper flipped about, doing cartwheels and somersaults. Like the time I ate too many sweets and ice-cream at my birthday party and ended up puking into a yellow bucket all night. I swallowed back the lump rising in my throat and waited for the sound of the bell.

This was it. The Midlands Junior Boxing Championship. I’d promised Dad I’d win this, just like he’d won it when he was my age. 

And you can’t undo promises. Not to dead people.

It all began two Saturdays ago when we had to move back to The Ditch. The first day of the summer holidays and like always, I’d arranged to go to my best friend, Samina’s house. But instead I had to stay at home and pack the last of my stuff into boxes while Mum, bleary-eyed, bossed the removal men about. She’s got really good at bossing people about since Dad died. Especially me. 

I still think of him every day. He was a professional boxer and always smelt of shower gel and shampoo; earthy and fresh, like sunshine after a storm. He died three years ago when I was eight. Mum says that he’s still watching over us, making sure we’re happy.

But the truth is, I don’t think that’s true anymore. 

For a start, Mum hates her job. Working shifts at the biscuit factory makes her tired. She says if she sees another broken digestive, she’ll go bonkers – and I believe her. She’s trying to set up a web-design business so she’s spending every spare second with her head in her laptop. And she’s so busy, sometimes I think she’s forgotten I’m there.

Then there was that stupid letter. I mean, Dad could have stopped the postman from delivering it or got our dog Rocky to chew it up or wee all over it. If he’d done that, we wouldn’t have got evicted from our home. 

Mum says evicted means asked to leave but I heard Samina’s parents talking about it and they said we were being ‘kicked out for not paying the rent’ and that’s why we were having to move back to The Ditch estate. She also said that everyone who lived in The Ditch were thieves. I wanted to tell them that they were wrong but then I’d have to admit to listening to their conversation and grown-ups don’t like that. Especially Samina’s mum. 

We left the Ditch when I was six. I don’t remember much about it. But I do know that it’s proper dodgy and there’s no way I want to leave our nice big house with a back garden and go back there. And I’m absolutely certain that Mum doesn’t want to live in The Ditch either.

And so that’s when I came up with the plan.