Blog | The write stuff



Young people in Scouts do amazing things. Zoe, 16, is one of them. She’s an Explorer Scout who has just had her first novel published, Herbert Minestalker, which was co-written with her dad, Peter. Zoe tells us about her book...

‘I got the idea for writing the book when I was eleven. I was reading Harry Potter and I found it quite scary, but gripping at the same time and I wanted to read on and on. This meant I was sometimes tired for school the next day. I wanted to write a book with short chapters, each quite complete and with a happy ending so I could get to sleep.

‘The book is about Herbert, an unusual dwarf – he’s quite tall and has no beard, so struggles to fit in. After causing an accident in the mine where he works, he is banished. This starts an adventure that eventually leads to a confrontation with a fearsome dragon.

‘In terms of my favourite authors, I’ve read all the Roald Dahl books and also the Twilight series, as well as Mallory Blackmore and J.K. Rowling. Probably my favourite book is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

‘The hardest part of writing the book was knowing when to stop; I had so many ideas! The other challenge was to make it different and entertaining.

‘My favourite character is Puff;a lot of people find her annoying, but I think she’s pretty awesome. I came up with the name when I was having breakfast; I was eating Sugarpuffs!

‘I worked on the book with my amazing dad, Peter.I’d come up with the ideas and he would help me write them down, especially when we first started. As I got older, I’d rewrite things the way I wanted them! The book took five years to come to life; I was eleven when we started and I’m sixteen now. We got a lot of rejections before Balloonview Publishing took us on.

‘My friends were really encouraging; they all want to read the book. However, I’ve got to get used to the idea that people want to read something that was previously just between me and my dad.

‘My advice to someone who is writing a book or thinking about writing a book is ‘keep going!’ Don’t get disheartened by setbacks or rejections. If you really believe in it, it will happen in the end.

‘Any money we make from the book goes towards fundraising for the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan. I’m really looking forward to going to Japan, especially the Home Hospitality element, where I will stay with a Japanese family and learn about the culture and customs. I will also visit Hiroshima, which will be incredibly interesting.

‘I met Bear Grylls at Gilwell Reunion this year and gave him a copy of the book. He said well done and what an amazing achievement it was to have produced a book. He signed a copy too! It was an amazing moment.’


Herbert Minestalker by Zoe and Peter Rogers is available on Amazon both in print and as a Kindle ebook. The money raised will go towards fundraising her trip to the World Scout Jamboree in Japan in 2015.

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