Your Questions and Comments

I got this message from Jay on 20th September, 2019:

Hi! In my class we are reading forbidden room and it is incredible. Jenny is my favorite character. I give your book 1000000/10!

Wow – Thanks Jay! 

 Kathryn sent me this lovely message on 4th October, 2017:

Hi Sarah I’m kathryn a pupil from hazelwood in Mr McDaids class. We just finished your amazing book the Forbidden room and it’s my absolute favourite book now! I would like to ask you if there is a sequel to the forbidden room and if there isn’t I would love love love there to be one! I’m so excited for you to come to my class and I’m going to buy a copy of your book. THANKYOU for the wonderful experience of your book, hope you have a lovely day πŸ™‚  

Hi Kathryn,

Thank you for your kind comments! I did start writing another book,  and although it’s not really a sequel to The Forbidden Room, you do get to meet Stephen again in it, after some time had passed, so you get to catch up on what is happening in his life. I don’t know if/when I’ll ever get it finished, because I have to work for a living these days, but I would really love to get back to writing more. I’m very much looking forward to coming to your school and meeting you all too πŸ™‚

Amaya sent me this message on 26th September 2017:

Hello Sarah Wray i am a pupil at hazelwood intergrated primary school.Our p7 teacher Mr mc Daid has asked us to do some facts about you so i would like to ask u some questions if that is ok with you : ) ? 

Hi Amaya,

Sorry it’s taken me ages to respond to your message – I’ve been really busy with other stuff, but if it’s not too late to answer your questions, ask away and I’ll do my best! 

Ryan sent me this message on 26th September 2017:

Hello Sarah I am from p7 in belfast hazelwood and we are reading you book The forbidden room what is so cool and I can?t wait for you to come to see school  

Thanks Ryan, I always love coming to your school, even though when Mr McDaid does a quiz about The Forbidden Room I never win!

Madison sent me this message on 26th September 2017:

Hi love the book the forbidden room. 

Hi Madison,

 Aw, thanks πŸ™‚  

Abbie sent me this message on the 1st November 2016: 

 We just finished you book in hazel wood honestly my favourite book that’s until I read the trap.

Thanks Abbie! Which do you prefer out of The Forbidden Room and The Trap?

Rachel sent me this message on 8th October (but it somehow got lost in my emails and I’m only seeing it now on 14th October – sorry Rachel!)

hello Sarah Wray our class Miss McClenaghan just finished your book the Forbidden Room Its Amazing!! Will there ever be a Forbidden Room 2???? Your one of my favorite Authors , Rachel  

Hi Rachel – sorry it took me so long to reply – I don’t know how I managed to lose your email until now! I’m glad you liked my book πŸ™‚ I’ve started writing another book that has some characters from The Forbidden Room in it, but I’m not sure when I’ll get it finished because I’m working full time as a nursery teacher now, so I don’t have so much time  for writing any more 😦

Charlotte and Evita sent me this message on 8th October:

We both loved you book our favourite part of the book was when lee took his top off in public . Everyone couldn’t stop laughing lol. We would love to buy some more of your books. 

Lol! I loved writing about Lee and Jenny’s relationship – they’re so cute! Lee reminds me of a boy I knew when I was at college. I’m hoping to visit your school in January, and I’ll bring copies of The Forbidden Room and The Trap for you to buy if you want. My other book, Blood and Snow is only available as an ebook, but you can buy if off Amazon for only Β£2.06. 

 Mairead sent me this message on 8th October 2014:

Hello Sarah Wray our class loved your book The Forbidden Room we hope that you will write another book , Mairead.

Hi Mairead,

Thanks for the message and I’m really happy that you loved the book. I have two other books – The Trap which is available as a paperback, and Blood And Snow, which is only available as an ebook (from Amazon). 

Kelly sent me this message on 8th October 2014:

 I loved your book, it was the best one I have every read! Can’t wait till I buy and read it. I’m Kelly. Can’t wait for number two!

Thanks Kelly – I’m so glad you liked it! 

Spike contacted me on 18th October:

I’m studying performing arts with Ollie Hancock and am going to be working with him on The Forbidden Room. So excited πŸ˜€

Hi Spike, I’m so excited too –  I keep telling people who barely know me about the play! I can’t wait to see it. I love the script so far.

Holly sent me this message on 26th September:

Hi I am from Hazelwood Primary School and I am in P7 we are reading The Forbidden Room. It is so COOL AND AWSOME!!!!

Hi Holly,

Thanks so much. See you soon!


Hi Sarah,  I’m reading The Trap, it’s amazing! Why did you make a camp for smart kids?

Hi Holly – It’s nice to hear from you again, I had lots of fun at your school! I made The Trap at a camp for smart kids so that they would be able to work out the clues for the treasure hunt.

This message from Emin arrived on 21st September:

Hi Sarah, I go to Hazelwood integrated primary, I’m in Mr McDaid’s class and we are reading one of your books, The Forbidden Room. I’m really looking forward to seeing you on Friday and buying one of your books. See you then, Emin

Hi Emin,

That’s great! I’ve got books ready to bring and sign for you. Try and think of some good questions to ask me and I’ll do my best to answer them when I’m there on Friday. See you then, Sarah 

Lucy sent me this message on 21st September:

Hi, I’m in Jim McDaid’s class. I am very excited for you coming over and also I read on your blog that the forbidden room has a play coming out and I love acting so I would love to audition and also love ur books the forbidden room by see you soon Lucy Murphy.

Hi Lucy, 

I think it’s great that they are holding open auditions for the play, so anyone who wants to can have a go. I don’t know if they will be coming to Northern Ireland though, I’ll post the details on my home page as soon as I know.  

See you soon!

Chloe sent me this message on 20th September:

Hello, I’m in Jim McDaids class, we are reading the forbidden room it’s so good I can’t wait to see you on Friday. Chloe Gough P7 

Hello Chloe,

Thanks! I’m looking forward to meeting you all on Friday too. πŸ™‚ 

thank you so much for getting back :~) 

You’re welcome πŸ™‚ 

This message from Caitlin arrived on 18th September:

Hi Sarah, I am in Jim McDaid’s class my name is Caitlin and I love your book the forbidden room.I would love to know when you’re holding your auditions for the forbidden room as I am a big fan of drama.

Hi Caitlin, I’m so excited that The Forbidden Room is being made into a play! I’m not really that involved in the process as it’s all being done by Ollie Hancock and his team from The National Youth theatre in London. They are planning to tour the play around mainland UK, but sadly they’re not coming over here :-(.  I don’t know when or where the auditions will be, but I guess it’ll be in England somewhere…

Ryan sent this message on 18th September:

Hi, will you give me the trap and the blood and sno plz I’m from hazelwood! 

Hi Ryan,

I’ve entered you into the draw to win a free signed book, along with everyone who sends me questions or comments. I’ll pick a winner soon. Good Luck! 

This message from Roma arrived on 18th September:

Hey Sarah, I’m Roma from Jim’s class a.k.a Jim Mcdaid and I’m reading your really amazing book, the forbidden room and I think we are nearly at the middle of the book but so far its amazing. I really admire your work and I wish I could read all your books but if I do then I will have to wait for you to write another book and I think that will take for ages! lol! πŸ™‚ 

Hey Roma, I’m glad you like The Forbidden Room. I think Mr McDaid (a.k.a. Jim) must be really good at reading aloud because his class always love the book. I’m looking forward to coming to visit your class soon.

Chelsea sent me this message on 11th April: 

I would like to enter to win a free copy of the forbidden room

 You’re in the draw, Chelsea, and I’ll announce when the next draw will take place soon πŸ™‚

Daragh sent me this message on 4th April:

heyahh sarah can you come back to hazelwood please 

Hi  Daragh, thanks for sending me a message – and sorry it took me so long to answer – I was over in England last weekend for my Mum and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary and then I’ve been busy working. I wish I could visit your school, but at the moment I’m working full-time as a Nursery teacher so I can’t really. My job is only temporary though, so if the teacher I’m covering for gets better and comes back, I’ll be free to visit school again, and I’ll let your teacher know!

I got this message from Niamh on 24th March:

Remember me, Sarah? From St. Colms? That picture of Babs Bunny I gave you! 

Hi Niamh,  of course I remember you! and I still have the fab picture you drew for me. Sorry it’s taken so long to reply to your email – I’m  working at the moment as a Nursery teacher, and we had parent teacher interviews, plus I’m dosed with the cold. But I’m off school now for Easter (yay!) so I’ve no excuse not to get caught up with website stuff.

Did you know that you have the same first name as the main character in my new kindle book Blood and Snow?

Daragh-Ann sent this message on 6th December:

 hi Sarah, you are the best author ever. I really want to be an author just like you. You’re so inspiring and your books are just wow !!!

Hi Daragh-Ann – Thank you so much! I’m very happy to inspire new writers – go for it! 

Martina sent me this blurb for a story she is writing on December 4th – It sounds very exciting!

This is my blurb: Lucy finds herself in a big situation when she is going to get something from her garage and discovers her mum’s biggest and darkest secret about the celler under the floorboards in the garage! When she gets there she falls down a well and discovers a whole new world! But will she survive or not……!? ps i enjoyed your visit to hazelwood

Wow Martina! I want to know all about the world that Lucy falls into… 

 hi it’s Martina again. Iwas just wondering how can you win a  book 

Hi Martina, the next draw to win a free book will happen around the end of December, and anyone who has sent me a message since the last draw could be picked. 

 I was wondering if you had any idea for the prologue of my book. Sorry if I’m sending to much! 

The prologue should be something really exciting or intriguing that makes the reader want to know who the book is about and how they could have got into that situation. 

 Here is the first chapter:                                                             Blurb!                                                                                                             Lucy finds herself in a big situation, when she is going to get something from her garage and discovers her mums biggest and  darkest secret about the cellar under the floorboards in the garage! When she gets there she falls down a well and discovers a whole new world! But will she survive or not……?       Prologue!                                                                                        “Just yesterday I was home, warm and I wasn’t alone but now I have nothing, now I’m alone, I’m cold, and I’m trapped. Hopefully someday I will be free again! Oh how I wish I was home now! I’m just walking through a forest, for all I know  I could be walking round in circles.                                             ” Chapter 1                                                                                           “Lucy, come here love!”shouted her mum. “Yes mum,” Lucy replied. “Can you go down to the garage and get me some white paint I am going to paint the living room.”Asked mum. “Ok I am on my way down,” said Lucy. “Thanks darling,” shouted mum down to lucy. So Lucy went down to the garage to fetch the paint,when she noticed a floorboard was lifted. So Lucy went over and lifted the full floorboard off and saw stairs downwards, at the bottom of the stairs there was a door that was slightly opened so Lucy went down the stairs! Lucy opened the door and it was all damp and dusty,there were cobwebs and spiders! The door slammed behind her and she ran and tried to open it but it was locked, “Mum!” she shouted “mum help!”she shouted once more. But there was no reply,no one could hear her. She was alone in the darkness but she couldn’t find a light switch, she reached out in front of her and there was something there so she walked forward. She suddenly felt herself tumbling and tumbling. She was scared no one could help her, no one could hear her, no one could save her, she was all by herself she was all alone, But where was she?                                                             I was wondering if you could help me a little with it?? 

I think it’s pretty good already. I would maybe have started  (after the prologue – which is great) by getting to know Lucy and her mum a bit with normal stuff before she fell down to the mysterious other place, because if you have too much excitement all at once, sometimes the reader can’t take it all in, although, for a short story, you have to get into the action pretty quick, so it depends on how long you want your story to be….

 This message From Daragh-Ann arrived on December 2nd:

Hi Sarah its me again. I just finished the trap my rate: 10 out of 10. It was a good ending but i was reading it in bed! so I got a little scared x 

Hi Daragh-Ann – I’m glad you liked The Trap – don’t be scared – read something funny now to get your mind out of it! I missed out a bit of your comment so it didn’t spoil it for people who haven’t read the book yet.

Chloe sent this message on 16th November:

Hi Sarah, I absolutely love ur books and you are the best author ever. I loved when you came to our school yesterday (I think it was yesterday) remember I was waving at you when you where coming out of my school, I was waving at you so madly because you have the same car as me, I was so excited. Please get back to me, love Chloe  

Hi Chloe,  I saw you waving! I like my car because it’s nice and roomy, and it still works well even though it’s ten years old. We call it Myrtle. Do you have a name for you car (or is that just me being silly?!) I’m glad you like my books, hopefully I’ll see you again if I come back to your school.

This message from Grace and Catherine (or one person called Grace Catherine?) arrived on 15th November:

Hi Sarah Wray, u recently visited Hazelwood and we had a great time. Thank u so much!

Hi Grace and Catherine (or Grace Catherine!) I had a great time at your school too – thanks for having me, and for the brilliant questions and comments from everyone! 

Leah sent this message on 15th November:

Hey Sarah! it’s Leah. You came to our school a couple of weeks ago in Hazelwood Integrated Primary. I really love the trap it has that kind of a twist what shocks you. You should try make a video of your books they’re really awesome. Try write back, Leah  

Hi Leah,

I’m so glad you liked The Trap – I was really aiming for the twist to be shocking when I wrote it, so I’m glad you thought that. I would love it if some production company wanted to make a film, or audio book, or anything really from one of my books – that would be awesome!

Magdalena sent me this message on 29th October: 

 Hi Sarah, I just started writing a book and here is the prologue hope u like it!! love Magdalena.  

‘Thick black clouds covered the sky and not a patch of blue was anywhere to be seen. Violet ran and ran until she reached the tree. She had no time left and could do nothing but climb up it. She watched the three masked people approach the tree and then stop. The people started to talk in a faint whisper for about two minutes. Soon after that they were gone. Violet climbed down and when she turned around she saw it. The thing that will help them get through this situation. But the thing –  how could the people have missed it?’

Ooh – Magdalena – how exciting! I want to know more about Violet and why she was running, and who was chasing her, and what was the thing and what’s going to happen next?! Brilliant prologue – it really draws the reader in and makes them want to read more. 

wow! I didn’t realise that my prologue was that good thanks so much Sarah, it means so much to me to hear that my writing is that good. love Magdalena 

No problem, Magalena – I’d love to see more of your writing. Keep it up! 

Daragh sent this message on 27th October: 

Hi sarah, thankyou so much for coming in and visiting us at hazelwood my name is Daragh and the answers of some questions we asked has inspired me to write my own book called my life I never had.

Hi Daragh,

Wow – that’s so cool. You definitely should write your book. Is it going to be funny, or mysterious, or something else?

This message from Magdalena arrived on 29th September:

I am 11, I go to Hazelwood Integrated Primary School. Our class is reading The Forbidden Room and it is one of the most thrilling and exiting books I have ever read, in fact it’s one of the best books I have ever read! Can you please, please come to our school and visit the P7s please? Thanks Magdalena 

Hi Magdalena,

I’m so glad you are enjoying The Forbidden Room. I would love to visit your school. I’m sure I’ll see you soon! 

Hi, I’m so exited that your coming into Hazelwood! I absolutely LOVED The Forbidden Room its is undoubtedly the best book on the planet! I still can’t believe that I get to meet an actual real author (I’ve met you before when I was in p3 but still…)! Our teacher told us that you are charging five pound for a signed copy of The Trap or Forbidden Room is this true???? I heard that your book Blood and Snow is available on kindle (that’s good coz I have one). I haven’t read The Trap or Blood and Snow so do you think I’ll enjoy them? Love Magdalena  

Hi Magdalena,

I excited about coming to your school too, and yes, it’s true – I’ll bring some copies of The Forbidden Room and The Trap with me to sell for Β£5.00 each, and I’ll sign them while I’m there. I’m very excited that my third book Blood and Snow is out now on Amazon Kindle – If you liked The Forbidden Room, then I hope you will also like The Trap and Blood and Snow – they’re both mystery thrillers as well, and both about teenagers – the trap is about a boy who goes to summer camp in America, and Blood and Snow is about an Irish girl who is involved with a murder in Iceland (the country not the shop)!

Hi Sarah (again!), I just want to say that your books are amazing. I’ve started reading the sample on Amazon Kindle of Blood and Snow and I’m enjoying it already! Your books are my kind of books and your website is pretty cool too. See ya on Wednesday when you come and visit our school! Magdalena 

Thanks, Magdalena – see you Wednesday! 

Courtney sent me this message on Septermber 27th: 

Heeyyy Sarah, me and my best friend Martina love your book soo much, especially the part when Jenny and Lee have the food fight in Macdonalds. Your best ever, never read a book that has so many cliffhangers, love it soo much.The Forbidden Room is a fabulous book. I would love to know where you got the ideas from, can’t wait for your visit to Hazelwood Integrated Primary School. I have a dog as well she is called Lady (she is fat) and lazy. can’t wait to see you. P.S. I also have a cat called Bagle. 

Hi Courtney and Martina! I’m looing forward to coming to your school and answering all your questions. I like the bits with Jenny and Lee in as well. It’s fun having a dog and a cat – mine sometimes snuggle up together, and sometimes chase each other about!

Heyyy I love your book THE FORBIDDEN ROOM it is so cool. My bff is Martina McCabe you might have seen our emails from Hazelwood I.P.S can’t wait for your visit. Could you please answer all my questions in the email please. Where did you get the idea for the book because I want to write my own book like yours, it’s so amazing I love it. The best part so far is when Lee kisses Jenny. bye bye Courtney. 

Hi Courtney – I find it really hard to come up with good ideas, but sometimes something from real life, like a story on the news, or something I see or overhear when I’m on the bus or in a cafe or something will trigger off an idea (or sometimes I try to recreate a feeling I get from reading a book that I really like, but with my own characters and plot – like if something happens that really shocks me I might try and shock my readers in the same way). See you soon! Sarah 

I got this message from Caitlin on September 19th:

Hello Sarah my name is Caitlin and I absolutely love The Forbidden Room I can’t wait to read The Trap. I have a dog called Benny, I heard you have pets too and I can’t wait to meet you. Your books are amazing we read The Forbidden Room like every single day at break time and evey day it gets better and better. When you visit it will be amazing we will have sooo much fun thanks .x

Thanks Caitlin, I’m really looking forward to visiting your school too! 

Catriona sent me this message on September 19th:

 hi sarah i love your book the forbidden room it’s fantastic though im still reading it.My sisters told me about. My sisters name is sarah and my grannies were called sarah.I cant wait till you come and visit my class. I heard you have animals i have a dog called matt he is fat. I know its unusual name for a dog my sister named him. i saw a picturer of your dog its so cute what kind of dog is it mines a cross between a jack russel and a kings charels. cant wait to see you bye bye. caitriona πŸ™‚ 

Hi Catriona,

My dog Roxie is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – she is a bit fat and lazy, and not very clever, but very lovely and friendly. 

Olivia and Madeline sent this message on September 19th:

Hi sarah our names are olivia and madeline.We have been reading your book the forbidden room as a class novel.We are really enjoying the book so far.We are thinking of writing a book of are own but we dont think it will be as good as yours. Hopefully you can come and visit us sometime at hazelwood integrated primary school bye.PS what is your favourite book?  

Hi Olivia and Madeline, you should definitely write a book – I wrote seven before The Forbidden Room got published so practice really does help! That’s a good question about my favourite book – I read lots of books and it’s really hard to pick one favourite. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games books recently.

Cathal and Ben sent me this question on 19th September:

Hi our names are Cathal and Ben. How did you get the idea of the Forbidden room? 

Hi Cathal and Ben,  I’ll tell you all about how I got the ideas for The Forbidden Room when I visit your school.

This message from Terri and Shannon arrive on September 19th:

Hi our names are Terri and Shannon we are from Hazelwood primay school.We are in P7 Mr Mc Daid.We are reading the Forbidden Room and we are half way though it.We love it. Where did you get your ideas for the book. We would love to have you at our school. Our favourite character in the book is Jenny and Lee. Hope to see you soon.  

Hi Teri and Shannon, I like Lee’s character too – he’s a little bit based on a boy I knew at college. See you soon!

Anthony sent me this message on September 19th:

Hi its Anthony I love your book its funny cool and its great to read.  

Hi Anthony – I tried to make the book a bit funny in places, so I’m glad you like it – thanks! 

This message from Odhran and Aaron arrived on 19th September:

Hi my name is Odhran and my friend beside me is called Aaron. We both love your book The Forbidden Room. It is a classic book and it has lots interesting pages. My class is half way through the book. Me and my friends favourite part is were Jenny rolls under her bed and finds the diary … I would love to find out how you wrote this book and how you got the ideas from. You are a fabulous author. from Odhran and Aaron.

 Hi Odhran and Aaron,

 I’m looking forward to visiting your school – I think you’ll all have some great questions for me, and it will be interesting to see what was everyone’s favourite parts.

Nathan sent me this message on September 19th: 

I like your book The Forbidden Room. I like the whole mystery you put in to the book. You make the book come to alive you’re a great author.

 Wow, thanks Nathan! 

This message from Conor arrived on September 19th:

  Hello I am Conor from hazewood primary,and am a big fan of the Forbidden Room I really like the part when Dr. Jo comes in and jenny pretends to go to sleep. Why did you write this book, and what made you think of the ideas and mystorys in this book. You should come to hazewood some day to meet us in P7. You are a fabulous writer.

Hi Conor, thanks for the message! I would love to come to your school and talk to you about The Forbidden Room. I’ll try my best to answer all your questions when I’m there.

Rebecca sent this message on September 19th:

Hi sarah (thats my middle name lol) I LOVE your book “the forbidden room.”It is fantastic!Where do you get these ideas from?They are amazing!I haven’t read all of the forbidden room yet but it is so good so far.Your family look nice and i see you have got pets.I love pets.i’ve got 2 dogs and a cat and a kitten around 8 weeks old.I’m from Hazelwood and i can’t wait to get to talk to you in person.See you then!  

Hi Rebecca,

Your house must be a lot of fun with all those pets and a new kitten! See you soon. 

This message from Beth and Catherine arrived on 19th September:

 Dear Sarah wray this is Beth and Catherine from Hazelwood. We are reading the forbidden room and the book is EPIC!!!! We really want to know were you got your ideas from. The book is brillant and we would love to write like you. We are half way through the book. We love the bit were Stephen nearly got hit by the knife up the head and helen gives a furious look. The book is very dramatic and we like it that way. We cant wait to see what is next and we hope you come to hazelwood and talk to us about the book. from Beth and catherine  

Hi Beth and Catherine – I’d love to know what’s your favourite bit when you’ve finished the book – you can tell me when I come to your school!Hi this is Beth and Catherine again when you come to the school we will let you know what our favourite part isbut at the minute it is when Lee and Jenny go on a date. from Beth and Catherine xxx πŸ™‚

This message from Jessica arrived on 19th September:

Hello Sarah our class are reading The Forbidden Room. It is amazing so far and I have been asking a lot of questions because you don’t know whats going to happen next it is so interesting. I cant wait until we read it again later it is the best book I have read so far and we will probly be read more of you amazing books I can’t wait !!!!!!!!!!! bye.  

Ooh, thank you! I hope you like the ending!

This message from Ruby and Martina arrived on 19th September:

Hi our names are Martina and Ruby. We are Primary 7 pupils at Hazelwood Primary. We are looking forward to seeing you here.We are in the middle of reading your fantastic book THE FORBIDDEN ROOM.Where did you get the ideas of the book? Please write back from your great friends Ruby and Martina.  

Hi Ruby and Martina!

I’m looking forward to seeing you too! Why not save up your questions, and I’ll answer them all when I visit your school. πŸ™‚ 

Thank you for getting back to us I can not wait to see you :)Also my sister is caitriona who told you about our fat dog Matt πŸ˜› (From Martina)

This message from Brian arrived on 19th September:

Hello, my name is Brian I’m a big fan of The Forbidden Room. I’m a pupil at Hazelwood IPS.  

Hi Brian!

I love your school! Thanks for the message – I’m glad you like The Forbidden Room (I think it’s because your teacher, Mr McDaid, reads it so well!) 

This message from Teigan arrived on 25th July: 

Dear Sarah x I have read all of you books and they are absolutely amazing! I really wish I could write like you! My absolute favourite is ‘ The Trap ‘. It is BRILIANT ! Soooo amazing! I could not blive what happened in the end! It was so unexpected! I loved how you had so many genres in one book! I don’t want to sound rude but would it be possible to send me your autograph? It may be out of the question but if you could it would be great! 

Hi Teigan, I’m so glad you liked The Trap – I wanted the ending to be a big surprise, so I’m glad you didn’t see it coming! Of course you can have an autograph – I’ll try and find a photo of me that’s not too embarrassing, and sign it and pop it in the post.

 Hi Sarah x It’s me again πŸ™‚ Thank you so so so much ! I was just wondering when the next prize draw is?? Love from your biggest fan Teigan xxxxx  

I’m pretty bad about remembering to do the prize draw! The last one was won by Julia at the end of June, and I posted her book all the way to Romania! I usually do them every two to three months, so it’ll be some time in September, I will get around to putting the draw date on the right page sometime, honest πŸ™‚

This message from Melissa arrived on 5th July:

Hello, I was just wondering are you going to write any more books because I love your books I have read The Forbidden Room and The Trap. I really hope you will write more!!!  

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for getting in touch, and I’m glad you liked my books! I have written more books, but my publisher decided not to publish them and my agent has not been able to find me a new publisher. I’m thinking about self-publishing some, but they may only be Kindle books, at least to begin with. Have you read the Hunger Games books? – I loved them!  Also Sophie McKenzie, Rachel Ward and Kevin Brooks books are good.

Hi its Me Melissa again, Yes I have read the hunger games I love them i really want to see the movie!! I have also read a lot of Sophie McKenzie books I have read all of the medusa project set I have read girl missing and the sequel sister missing and also alot more of her books!! thankyou for answering my other comment!!Bye  

I saw the Hunger games movie and though it was very good – pretty much true to the book. You should definitely try to see it. I haven’t read Sophie McKenzie but I met her a couple of years ago and she’s really nice.

Hi its me melissa again I cant believe you have met Sophie Mckenzie i have always wanted to meet her or just speak to her she is an amazing author and so are you! your books are brilliant where did you get all your ideas from?   

Hi Melissa, (sorry I didn’t update your message sooner – I’ve been busy with stuff)

You ask where I get my ideas from – I find it really hard to come up with good ideas, especially when I’m trying to! Sometimes an idea will start to form when I’m driving or falling asleep or watching TV or something, and then I need to remember to write it down before I forget or else I’m all like, that was such a good idea, if I could only remember it!  Sometimes I try to recreate the way another book has made me feel only with my characters and plot – like shocked from a sudden twist, or really moved, or happy or whatever.

Hey, I also love writing and I also find it hard to think of story ideas but sometimes i get my ideas from my dreams and also from reading other peoples books!! Do your children enjoy reading and writing stories?  

When I’m in the middle of writing a book, I sometimes dream about my characters – although my dreams are so weird it would be a bit freaky to write them into my books! My daughter, Becca loves reading and our tastes in books overlap quite a lot, so we can share books. My older son, Daniel doesn’t really read much at all, he prefers video games, but my younger son, Christy likes to read sometimes. Becca, Christy and I were all reading the Hunger Games books at the same time and fighting over who got the next one first! Becca might want to be a journalist, which is a bit like being a writer, but she’s also really into circus performing – she does aerial silks and trapeze. Daniel wants to design video games, and Christy wants to do something to do with geography!

Hi, your children seem very talented! when I grow up I would like to be an author and be world famous like JK Rowling but I doubt I would be that successful. Is it hard to be a successful author? I really like writing stories in school and my teachers always are very pleased with my writing were you like that when you were younger?  

I always loved reading and writing stories, and English and Art were my favourite subjects at school, but I ended up doing Science for A level and at university! It’s really hard to make it as a successful writer, way more people try than make it, although it’s getting much easier to self-publish – with ebooks and Kindles and stuff, so you don’t have to rely on being picked by a publisher. You should look for writing competitions – there are lots aimed at school aged people as well as older, or try writing short stories and sending them to magazines. Even just writing for the fun of it helps you learn about story structure and stuff and what works for you. I’m studying at the moment so I can go back to work as a primary school teacher because I’m not earning very much money as a writer, but I really want to keep writing as well. I wish you lots of luck, and hope you make it!

 Hello Sarah,

 sorry to bother you again but I forgot to ask if maybe
you could send me your autograph because your are an excellent author
and it would be nice to have your autograph!

Sure, I’ll sign a photo and pop it into the post for you. 

thank you Sarah I will tell you when it arrives! I was wondering if
you could give me any tips on how to make my writing better?

you bye xx

There’s a section on my website called ‘writing hints and tips’ – have a look at that – I hope it helps!

This comment from Julia arrived on 18th June:

Dear Sarah, I just finished The Trap. Wow! I’ve never imagine such an end. The novel is fantastic, a great idea! I started to write a book about a year ago and I got stuck, but “writing hints and tips” helped me very much. I have never thought that a book could have ever scared me or kept me so concentrated as The Trap did. After i started to read it, i couldn’t stop, I was reading until my eyes got red, in the late nights. For sure my next book will be The forbidden room. Greatings from Romania!

Hi Julia,

I’m so glad you liked The Trap – I didn’t even know The Trap had been published in Romanian until I saw a picture of it online one day! Your English is very good. I’m glad my site helped you with your writing – I get stuck too sometimes. I try to keep going even if I don’t feel like it, and write anything (I can always change it later) rather than leaving a blank page. Writing can be hard but it can also be wonderful, so it’s worth keeping going. Good luck πŸ™‚

Hi again, Sarah. I told you that I wanted to read The Forbidden Room but I don’t know where to buy it from. If it’s not published in Romanian, I don’t mind. Just tell me a site where I can purchase it. Many thanks.

Hi Julia, 

I’m sorry, I really don’t know where you could buy The Forbidden Room in Romania – do you have online bookshops like Amazon? On my website anyone who sends me a question or comment is entered into a draw to win a free book every two to three months. Since yours is the only comment I’ve had since January, then I guess you’ve won! If you send me your postal address, I’ll send you a signed copy of The Forbidden Room. I hope you like it πŸ™‚

This question from Alvin arrived on 24th January:

How to write character interactions in a group eg friends, thugs or residents. Do you write? “……” said the first friend “……” said the fifth friend. ” …..” said the seventh friend. Please advise. 

Hi Alvin,

I’m not sure if I understand your question correctly, but if you’re asking about dialogue between several unnamed characters, I think I would describe them and then assign them ‘nicknames’ based on the description. For example:

Four or five unfriendly looking characters were hanging around the bus stop. One wore a stripy shirt and another had dark hair tied up in a ponytail. ‘Whoa, look who’s coming,’ said stripy, and ponytail looked me up and down with a leery grin… 

I hope that helps πŸ™‚

Dear Sarah,

Ok that would be one way of doing it according to your suggestion.

My situation is addressing  a meeting with little crowd of squatters and camp residents,
when some of these guys interject now and then making comments.

Do I still describe each character, when the thrust is on their 

Would this suit?

”’………..” cried out a squatter.

” ………” rallied the other squatter.

“………..” shouted the third squatter.

“………..” interjected another squatter.

Most grateful if you can plz. clarify.



If it was me, I’d probably still describe them to a certain extent – to give richness and  a more visual element to the scene, as well as giving you a convenient label for dialogue. Alternatively, you could just use ‘…………………..’ said one squatter, ‘…………………..’ shouted another. Personally I don’t like to use too many different words for said (interjected, rallied etc) as I think it sounds a bit clumsy. I might frame the statements, for example. 

What had begun as a civilised, even friendly meeting,  was starting  to degenerate. The squatters were looking more and more angry.

‘This is our home!’ one of them shouted, followed by more shouts of:

‘We’re not breaking any laws – you are!’

‘It’s the likes of you that wants to throw us out on the street!’ 

I guess that wouldn’t work if you want to intersperse comment from the two groups (the squatter and the campers). If you can make it obvious who is speaking,  from the content and style of the comment, then you don’t have to say who it is – too much telling is bad writing, better to make the reader work it out sometimes (as long as it’s easy enough). Why don’t you just try different styles and see what suits you best – we’re all different in what sounds right to us.

Also, there are lots of ‘how to’ websites about writing – you should try googling and see what other people think.

Charlotte wrote to the website on 24th January:

hi i just wanted to tell you that i read the forbidden room and thought it was one of the best books i have ever read, and i read a lot of books and that is the truth. i found the book very interesting and i wonder how you come up with such amazing plots and strorylines. i also found the book very touching. thanks so much for writing an amazing book! From Charlotte 

Hi Charlotte,

Thank you so much for your comment – it really means a lot to me to have people say nice things like that – I’ve always loved reading, and I wanted to make books that other people would love too, so I’m really glad you did!

The ideas for the plot of The Forbidden Room came from lots of different places -things I’d seen on the news, tv programmes and  my own experience as a parent and working in a science lab (although I didn’t do any of the things the Hollands’ did!) All these things got me thinking ‘what if…’ what if one of my children was sick like the little boy I saw on the news, what if I worked in a lab, what would I do to save my child? and it kind of went on from there.

This message from Abigail arrived on 22nd January:

hello, your brother in law John (who I know from church) lent me your book The Forbidden Room. I enjoyed it very much and am hoping to read The Trap next. 

Hi Abigail, Thanks for getting in touch – I’m glad you liked The Forbidden Room, I hope you like The Trap too. I actually have two brothers-in-law called John – my sister’s husband, and my husband’s brother! I wonder which John lent you my book…? 

I got this message from Alice on 17th January:

Hi, love your book you should really make a movie out of it!

Hi Alice, Thanks! I’m glad you liked my book – was it The Forbidden Room, or The Trap?

It would be awesome if someone made a movie out of one of my books – everyone should trend it or Twitter or make a facebook petition or something then a rich movie producer might see it and get in touch with me. πŸ™‚

i meant the forbidden room! i am reading it at the moment can’t put it down but reading it with school so can’t read ahead!

Cool. What school do you go to? 

loreto grammar altrincham 

It’s exciting for me to hear about people who are doing my book at school! (I googled your school and it looks really nice) 

Louise got in touch on 7th December:

Amazing author, would love to win a signed copy, keep up the good work

Hi Louise – your comment is a Haiku! I could tell as soon as I read it, and then I counted the syllables to check – awesome. (Was that on purpose or just serendipity? – Probably on purpose, cause Haikus don’t just happen, right?) You are absolutely entered into the next draw, you clever Haiku writer, you!

I got a question from Carolina on 26th November about the blurb on the back of The Trap.

Hi Carolina, thanks for your question. I haven’t put it here because of spoilers in it, but I’ll try and answer it anyway.

Firstly, I have to tell you that as writer of the book, I don’t get to design anything about the cover, from the picture on the front to the blurb on the back – that’s all down to the publishers. So I didn’t write the blurb for either of my books.

The blurb for The Trap is supposed to be intriguing without giving away any of the twists or reveals in the plot. When it says Luke is about to become the next victim, I guess it could mean the victim of the strange happenings going on in the camp, or a victim of harm at the hands of the bad guy/bad guys. When it says ‘something is out there, watching, waiting…’ that could mean something or someone. The point is to keep the reader guessing. I think the blurb is pretty good, myself! 

Carolina repied: 

Thankyou very much Sarah, I am looking forward for you next bookKisses from your number1 reader (fan).

This message from Connor arrived on 24th November:

Hi sarah I think forbidden room is amazing it pulls all the right things and Please could I win a signed book of the trap because it sounds amazing thank you for listening you’re my favourite writer 

Hi Connor, I’m glad you liked The Forbidden Room! I’ve entered you into the draw to win a signed book which will take place next Wednesday (30th November). Anyone who has sent me a message/question since the last draw will be entered. Good Luck! 

thanks a lot hope i win!!

This question from Niamh arrived on 20th November:

hello I have a important question, and id really love it if you’d help. Since the second you finish writting a book, you own automatic copyright to it, why do you need to officail register it. And how dose the copyright work? dose it apply in all countrys? and if you dont officaly copy write what dose it mean if someone steals your work? thanks 

Hi Niamh,

To be honest, I don’t really know very much about copyright. I just googled quickly, and seems you’re right about the automatic copyright thing. I’m pretty sure that when I signed my books with the publisher, they then owned the rights (for instance, I recently discovered that there is a Romanian translation of one of my books that I knew nothing about – my publishers made the deal in 2009 and ‘forgot’ to tell me. I haven’t seen a penny of my advance and royalties, but now that they know I’m on to them, maybe I will). I’m a member of ALCS (Authors’ licensing and collecting society) I’m not sure exactly what they do, but they send me money each year and it’s something to do with people copying my writing in some way. You can only register published books with an ISBN number though.

Sorry I can’t be more help – you could probably find out more if you googled more thoroughly than I did, or maybe post the question on some writers’ forum somewhere?

I hope you find your answers, and good luck with your writing career.

John sent me this message on 11th November:

Hi Sarah you visited my Primary School Hazelwood Primary in the early Summer of 2011. I bought your book the forbidden room it’s my most favourite book ever i absolutly love it you did a good job with it. It was good to meet you when you came to hazelwood. i was sick the 1st time you came but the 2nd time i saw you i was so excited.. bye  

Hi John,

Thank you! I’m so glad you liked The Forbidden Room. I love visiting your school and I’m glad you were not sick for my second visit πŸ™‚ 

This message from Lorren arrived on 12th October:

Hi this is Lorren im just wondering if you were writing other book because i love your books and im nearly finished the Trap and ive already read the Forbidden Room (im 11) so hope you get back to me from one of your biggest fans Lorren

Hi Lorren, 

I have written more books since The Trap, but I haven’t been able to find a publisher for them yet. 

I noticed that your email address ends in nz – does that mean you’re from New Zealand? How exciting – my books have travelled more than I have! When I was sixteen I spent a year in America, and my best friend was a girl who had just moved there from New Zealand.

I hope I get more books published soon – I’d love to travel to New Zealand and Australia to do school visits and book signings – that would be fab! 

 HI Lorren again yes im from New Zealand and if you do get to come here please come to Taieri College thats my school and i really do hope you can find a publisher i cant wait to read more of your books oh and i dont know what year ill be in but hopefully you can find me

I hope that happens, Lorren, and if it does, I’ll do my best to find you! 

Every year, a fabulous P7 teacher, Mr McDaid reads The Forbidden Room to his class, and then invites me to visit and talk to them/take questions about myself and the book. The visit is planned for next week, and I’ve already got some questions from the class members (06/10/11) :

 Hi Sarah , my name is Aimee and I am a pupil at Hazelwood Integrated Primary School. My teacher is called Mr McDaid. My classmates and I have been told you will be visiting our class soon. We have just finished reading The Forbidden Room and we all loved it. I think its one of the best books i’ve ever read. I cant wait for your visit. yours sincerely Aimee Lyttle

Hi Aimee,

Thanks for getting in touch! I’m glad you liked my book. I’ll see you next week. πŸ™‚ 

hi sarah im in hazelwood primary in mr mc daids class and we just finished the forbidden room and cant wait till you come next thursday and can i buy the trap (from Tyrique)

Hi Tyrique,

I can’t wait to come to your class and meet you all either, I’ll bring copies of both books with me so you can buy either (I’ll sell them for Β£5 each) hello im Mia from hazelwood primary you know my teacher mr mcdaid.We just finished reading your book the forbidden room it was brilliant it is my favourite book i have ever read. Anyway i hope you can still come on thursday!!!

Hi Mia!

I spent years writing before I got anything published, and I could only dream of someone someday saying one of my books was their favourite book ever and now you’ve said it, so wow, thanks! I’m really looking forward to coming to your school next Thursday. See you then! hi Sarah my name is Neve im in Mr.McDaids class at Hazelwood Primary School we just finished the forrbidden room it was brilliant my favourite part was when the bus driver called out Amanda Patterson and John and Helen saw it and I want to ask you a question what gave you the idea about Jenny?

Hi Neve!

I’m so glad you liked The Forbidden Room. The bit where the bus driver has Mandy’s diary and calls it out is my favourite bit too! I’ll probably be able to answer your questions in more detail when I’m at your school, but basically, I wanted Jenny to lose part of herself in the car accident. At first it was only going to be her foot, but then I watched a TV program about young people in Ireland who had limbs amputated, and a girl on the program with both legs missing impressed me so much I decided to base Jenny on her.Hi sarah wray im Michael from hazelwood primary, Our class just finished the forbidden room (everyone gave it 5 stars and i mean everyone no joke!!) now were reading private peaceful…But i dont think that will stand higher than your book!

Hi Michael,

Wow! everyone in the class liked the book, that’s great, I’m so happy (I think it’s mostly because Mr McDaid reads it so well!). I loved Private Peaceful – It made me cry a lot. I hope you like that too. 

I got this question from Niamh on 25th September:hey Do you get free copies of your published books?? And how much do you get paid a book?? thanks

Hi Niamh,

When each of my books were first published, I got twenty free copies (most of which I gave away to family and friends). After that I have to buy them for half the cover price, so they cost me Β£3.50 each. They used to come with free postage, but they changed it and now I have to pay Β£5 postage every time I order more books – boo!

The amount I get paid per book is tiny! They sell in the shops for Β£6.99 and I get between 19p and 50p per book. Most writers are really poor, unless you get super successful and sell millions of books, and then all the 50p’s would add up to quite a lot. Or if someone wants to make your book into a movie, then I think they pay quite a lot of money for that. (If anyone reading this knows any movie makers, tell them my books would make great films!)

 Aoife sent me this question on Sunday 25th September:hello should i wait till i am 18 to try and get published???

Hi Aoife! It’s great that you’re writing and want to be published. I think there have been at least a couple of people who have been published when they were still school age – I think Christopher Paolini who wrote the Eragon books was about fourteen when they were first published. It’s really hard getting published, and could take years, so there’s no harm in starting early. Just don’t be discouraged and keep trying if publishers don’t accept you at first – I had everything rejected for the first seven years that I tried sending my writing to publishers.

Meg wrote to me on 10th September:

Hey Sarah its Meg we’ve not been on touch for ages it will be nice to talk to you again!

Hi Meg,

Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to your message. First my computer wasn’t working right, and then we got a new one and I had to figure out how to do things with it, plus I’ve been working full time as a classroom assistant, but anyway, Hi! I hope you’re well and enjoying school and life and everything. I’m going back to University starting next week! I’ll be a student again after almost twenty years!

Let me know how you are,

All the best,


Hi Sarah, schools really good has your new book you send off been accepted? Best wishes at uni, meg xxxNo, the book hasn’t been accepted yet. Now that I’m not working as a classroom assistant anymore, I might have more time to do some more writing and maybe try and get a new agent who might have more success with finding me a publisher. (Even though I’ll be a student, I think I’ll still have some free time).

This message from Rachel arrived on 20th August:

Please, please PLease write more books!!!!!! I am struggling to find books that i like to read at the moment. i have a certain type of book i like to read and yours fit perfectly! i read ‘The Forbidden Room’ about a year ago and i have recently read ‘The Trap’. I think you are a brilliant writer so please write some more books for me to enjoy. Sincerely Rachel 

Hi Rachel,

Thank you so much for your message – I really appreciate hearing from my readers! I have actually written three and a half new books since The Trap, but I can’t find a publisher to publish them (I was dropped by Faber and Faber who published the first two). I love writing more than anything, but it’s really hard being rejected, plus I’m not earning enough to pay the bills, so I’m going back to college to re-train as a teacher. I’ll keep writing though, and maybe someone will publish more books by me one day. I hope so.

Perhaps some of the other readers of the site could recommend books for you? I’ve heard the books by Sophie McKenzie are quite similar to mine, plus Numbers by Rachel Ward, and some of the Kevin Brooks books are really great. 

Thanks for your reply I have read all of the Sophie McKenzie books and yes, they are similar to yours. Thank you for the other author suggestions and I hope your other books do get published. Rachel Pearson:-)

Thanks Rachel!

This message from Connie arrived on 6th August:

Sarah – just wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your website. I have been a member of a book club for 30 years here in the States (Iowa). Interestingly, our group has read many of the same books that yours has. It has been fun to read and share your reviews, and to get ideas for future selections. I appreciate your willingness to read American authors; similarly, we enjoy many British authors. No need to reply; just carry on and enjoy!

What a nice email to get. When I write up my bookgroup reads, it’s almost for my own benefit and I don’t really imagine anyone else is reading it, so to find out that it’s been helpful to a book group in Iowa is really exciting! Thanks for getting in touch, Connie! 

This message from Alina arrived on 17th July:

Hi Sarah! First of all i want to tell you that i love your books and i think that you are a great writer. I am writing myself a book and i wonder if you could help me with something. I’m from Romania so my book is in Romanian. What can I do to publish my book outside of my country? Like USA, Canada, Germany etc. I would apreciate it if you could help me!! Lots of hugs from Alina!!!

Hi Alina,

It’s great that you’re writing a book – I know from my own experience how much pleasure you can get from writing, even though getting published is really difficult. I got my first break in publishing by winning a writing competition. I think that’s a really good way to get into the business – you should search the Internet to see if there are any competitions in Romania (although I think your English is good enough that you could enter English speaking competitions as well). Also, to find publishers both in your own country and abroad, it’s important to get an agent, if you can. Here in the UK there are lists of agents in a book called ‘The Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook’ – I don’t know if you have the same kind of thing in Romania. Public libraries (or the Internet) may also have contact details for agents. A good idea is to look at books that you really like, and are in the same style as your own writing and see who publishes them, and who the author’s agent is (writers often thank their agents in the acknowledgements either in the front or the back of their books). I wish you lots of luck and I really hope you find success and fulfilment in your writing career! 

Hey Sarah! Thank you so much for your response. You really made me realise about some things that i really didn’ know about. Probably because i am only 19. Indeed I enjoy writing and when i do that is like i’m another person. I detach myself from reality trying to construct a world totally new. Is a science fiction book and i hope that i will see my dream come true. I hope we keep in touch because you really helped me. Thank you again and lots of kisses!

I know exactly what you mean, Alina. When I’m writing I’m definitely living in my own world inside my head! I really hope you get your dream too.

This message from Cristiana arrived on Sunday 29th May:

Hello! My name is Cristiana Tepes, I am 12 years old and I`m from Romania. I write this message because I want to say that you are one of my favourite writers. I love the book “The Trap”! In our school, we have a project at Romanian Language: we have to make a blog with our favourite book and writer, and I chose you, with “The Trap” book. My blog is this: . “The Trap” in english means “Capcana” in romanian. It will be an honour for me if you can take a look on my blog. I know that you don`t understand romanian, so I put those flags with different countries, to read the blog in your language. Your huge fan, Cristiana Tepes. 

Hi Cristiana,

Thank you for your message, and the wonderful review your wrote about the characters and plot of The Trap in your blog (I read the English translation). It’s very exciting for me to think that I have fans of my books in Romania and now I know what a Romanian translation would be called – “Capcana”. I hope other people who visit my website will click on the link and visit your blog too!

 I got a message on 17th May from Jenny Bell of Libraries NI asking me if I wanted to be included on a list of Authors available for school visits. I tried to respond directly to Jenny’s email, but it bounced back.

I’ve you’re reading this, Jenny, thanks for getting in touch, and yes please!  If you’d like me to contact you directly, could you please try again? (Perhaps you miss-typed your email address and that’s why it bounced back when I replied?)

This message from Cindy arrived at about ten to three in the morning (my time) on Sunday 15th May:Sarah, I just ran across your name in Librarything. I hardly ever see the name Wray. That’s my maiden name. Are there many Wrays in Ireland? There aren’t many here. Just curious. I’m not an author, like you, I’m a librarian in a public library. I’m just sending positive vibes to another Wray in the world. Good luck with your writing, I’ll look for your books. Cindy

Hi Cindy, nice to hear from you. You don’t say where you’re from, but I’m guessing either the US or Canada? 

Wray is not very common here either, although there are some – there’s a guy at my church called Stephen Wray and he’s not related to us as far as we know. 

I get endless bother with people not spelling it right – I always spell it out and people write down R as the first letter anyway! One time when the kids were little we ordered theme park tickets over the phone, to pick up when we got there, but when we did, no-one could find our tickets and all the people in the queue (or ‘line’ if you’re an American!) went past us. Finally they found our tickets with the name spelled Ruray! I’d spelled it out over the phone, and that’s what they heard!

Also, with hindsight, I’d have picked a pen name that started earlier in the alphabet because my books are always at the bottom of the last shelf in bookshop where they are sorted alphabetically.

Ah well.

Thanks for the positive vibes! Back atcha!

This question from Niamh arrived on 1st May:

hey I’ve been trying to get a hold of an agent, but cant find any. Could you please please please give me the details for your agent. I’ll be soooooooooo thankful if you could thank you so much niamh x

Sorry it’s taken me a wee while to reply. I think you can get lots of agents details in the Writers and Artist’s annual Yearbook, and there are also websites that have agents details.

My agent is Simon Trewin with United Artists and his website is

I think it’s pretty much the same going about finding an agent as trying to find a publisher – look and see what kind of writers they represent and if you fall into the same category, then contact them with either an enquiry letter or sample chapters and synopses of your work.

Good luck!

I got this message from Rachel on Monday 18th April:

hi, so far i have only read one of your books (the trap) and i couldn’t put it down i also want to read the forbidden room 

Hi Rachel, 

Ooh – I’m glad you liked The Trap. I hope you like The Forbidden Room too, if you read it πŸ™‚

This new message from Roberta arrived Sunday 17th April (after I’d been telling her about climbing the Statue of Liberty):

Wow – I never thought about heights… that would be freaky.Ha ha!By the way  -your pets are so cool – especially your cat! She looks really cool πŸ˜€And your fish look cool… Do you not worry about them dieing??? Ha ha –It’s just, i never had any fish because all my friends have fish and they say they just keep dieing – Poor things – But I dont know why they die. 😦 I really love my pets – I’ve always liked animals – when I was growing  up I had a dog called Sandy and I used to really like horses too – I had a Saturday job at my local riding stables. Now I have Roxie the dog – she’s very gentle and loving and hardly ever barks, and Lucy the cat – Lucy follows me around and sits on whatever I’m trying to do – like if I’m trying to type, she’ll sit on the keyboard, or if I’m reading a book she’ll try and sit on it!The fish do die quite often (usually because I don’t clean them out enough) – at the moment we have lots of little minnows of different colours – four gold ones, four black and white stripy ones, and two grey and red ones. They seem to survive better than the goldfish. We also have three baby snails that must have hatched from eggs on the plants I bought for the tank. They move around the inside of the walls eating the algae which makes the tank look cleaner, so they can stay.Awesome! Snails sound cool!Apparently goldfish are really bad at staying alive – ha ha!Your cat sounds awesome – i can just imagine a cat trying to sit on a book. πŸ˜€ I have a cat and she sits on things too. I guess all cats are like that. It seems they try to sit in the most awkward, annoying places they can find. My cat sits on top of the TV and sometimes goes for a hunt in the speakers. And also likes chasing things like straws and bottle tops!If you give our cat a bottle top, it’ll keep her amused for ages.Well, Until she gets it stuck under the sofa, or the fridge or the piano. πŸ˜€ Ha haCats are really funny!I agree – cats are really funny! Have you tried getting your cat to chase light from a torch or even something shiny like a watch can reflect sunlight and my cat will chase the little circle of light like a mad thing! PS – sorry I took so long updating the website – I’m in lazy holiday mode. I’ve been sitting in the garden (with the dog and cat) reading and sunbathing πŸ™‚Yea. Just before we got our cat (Two years ago) I bought a lazer cat toy thing. but it stopped working on the second day that i used it. I got so fed up that i decided to not buy another one. To save me from having to go through another one breaking :/Plus, No sweat about updating the site. I’ve been really busy these past few days too. I guess everyone is!! Happy Easter by the way πŸ™‚


This message from Elena arrived on Friday 15th April:

Hi Sarah! i’m Elena and i’m romainian and i’m only 14 years old. i don’t speak verry good eanglish so i’m sorry for that. i write to you becouse i want you know about your fans. i really like your book and I hope you will write more because you’re very good at what you do. I read the trap and I am very impressed. i like you and i hope I hope you will write to me back. if you want I can help you to write another book . With love Ella. P.S.: my friends like you too.

Hi Ella,

Thank you for writing to me (I think your English is very good!). I’m so glad you liked The Trap. Have you read The Forbidden Room? Thank you for offering to help me write the next book. Unfortunately, my problem is not writing – I have written three books since The Trap was published and I’ve started a fourth -the problem is getting them published. My publishers Faber and Faber have stopped accepting books from me, and my agent hasn’t found me a new publisher yet. I really hope he does soon, because I love writing, and I’d love to be able to tell ‘my fans’ like you that a new book is coming out soon. (If anyone reading this knows someone in the publishing business, and wants to put in a good word for me, that would be great! πŸ˜‰ 

PS – Elena, I tried to send you an email to tell you that your message was on the website, but it bounced back – did you maybe type in your email address wrong?

These messages from Laura arrived on Thursday 14th April, after I’d been on a school visit to St Colm’s High School.

Hello my name is Laura McEldowney, and i was one of the pupils of St Colm’s High School that you visited today. I have some questions i need to ask you that i didn’t get a chance to ask you any questions. So if you don’t mind can i answer you some ?

Hi Laura, I got a very warm welcome from your school, and I really enjoyed my visit (and my family were very happy to share the giant easter egg that the school gave me as a gift!). Sorry we ran out of time, and there wasn’t time for all the questions – of course you can send your questions into the website, and I’ll do my best to answer them (sometimes it takes me a couple of days to get round to it, but I always respond to all the comments in the end) πŸ™‚ 

If my name gets choosing from the prize draw i would like to get ‘The Trap’ because i already have the forbidden room btw its amazing. πŸ™‚

Everyone who contacts me on the website gets entered into the free draw. If you win, I’ll send you The Trap. (I’m glad you like The Forbidden Room – thanks!)

This message from Roberta arrived on 3rd April:

OOOOh! I love your books so much! I think the Trap was the best one, but the Forbidden room was amazing too! I just love them! Thankyou for writing such an amazing book!

Thanks Roberta – I’m glad you liked them  It’s interesting that you liked The Trap best – that’s one vote each (because Amy’s message said she liked The Forbidden Room more). I’d love to hear from more people about which they liked best. Also, it would be great to hear about people’s other favourite books and writers. One of my favourite writers is Terry Pratchett, and I like David Almond too (and lots more – I love reading!)

Hi Sarah (Again) πŸ™‚ The smiley faces on this are awesome, by the way! Some of my favourite authors are Rachel Ward, Rebecca Stead, Rebecca Maizel, Mark Haddon, Louis Sachar, Siobhan Dowd and YOU!! Plus, Even though the Trap is my Favouite Book, The Forbidden room was just so amazing too, it was hard to choose… How do you think up all these incredible storys?? πŸ™‚

Hi Roberta, I like the smilies too – I just copied them from Meg’s message from 10th March. Two authors on your list are also favourites of mine – Holes by Louis Sachar is one of my favourite books ever (I wish I wrote it!) and I also love The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night Time, and A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. I haven’t read anything by the other authors – I’ll look out for them. Have you tried The Book Thief and I am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak – they’re really good too.

You ask my how I think up my stories – it’s really hard! That’s the hardest part of writing for me, coming up with ideas that I like, and haven’t already been done lots of times. Once I think of an idea I like, the actual writing is mostly just fun!

Thats awesome! I’ve read Holes and The curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime too! I’ll definatley look out for those other books – Im running short on them! You shoud try Small steps By Louis Sachar too, im reading it now. It’s about Armpit – It’s suppost to be awesome too!!! I think Rachel Ward is amazing – It’s worth reading her books… She’s written a book called Numbers. And a series of books after that one. If you check out her website, then you can see all about her. I just wanna say, Thanks for replying to all these comments. Not many authors bother to do this. Thankyou. 

You’re welcome! – I really appreciate  hearing from people who’ve read my books (and liked them!). Maybe more famous writers get so many messages that they don’t have time to reply – I don’t know.

Yeah, I guess it’s not authors fault that sometimes they dont reply. Maybe they’re busy writing books!!!  I wanted to ask you, have you ever written a sonnet?You know, a 14 lined poem with 10 syllabuls in each line?Well, I had to for school, and It was really fun.Have you written any other things like poems or things other than storys?

I tried to write a haiku once…. Bad times!!! πŸ˜€

I don’t remember writing a sonnet – it’s possible that I did when I was at school and it was so bad I’ve blotted it out of my memory! I do occasionally try writing poetry. I would really like to be good at it, but I don’t think I am. I think writing poetry is a pretty good way of getting emotions out of your system – like if I’m feeling really depressed or really happy then I feel like writing a poem about it, but when things are just normal I don’t get the urge. I’ve never tried a haiku – I’m not good at having to follow such strict rules. I like to let my creative urges flow wherever they want (lol).Hi Again Yea, Haikus are annoying. Still, if you wrote a poem, I’d definatley read it!I was also wondering what kind of music do you like?I love hearing what kind of music people like, becuase i love to listen to music all the time!Also, I like hearing about classic songs that i dont know about, becuase they’re usually good ones!

Music Nowadays, in my oppinion, is getting very, boring. Ha ha. 

I like mostly folk (Kate Rusby, Joni Mitchell) and country (Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss) but the two albums I downloaded most recently were by Adele and Paulo Nutini! When I was a teenager I was a big fan or Blondie with Debbie Harry.

Awesome – Sounds good!!! Ha ha ha! Have you ever been to see the statue of liberty or anything like that??? I really want to go – but im waiting till im older so i dont have my little sister and parents to annoy me!!! Ha ha ha πŸ˜€  

Actually, I have been to the Statue of Liberty. When I was sixteen, my family had a year in California because of my Dad’s job, and we lived in Santa Barbara and we traveled a bit on the west coast (Grand Canyon, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Disneyland, Sea World) which was pretty cool. When I was nineteen, after my A levels and Before I went to University, I spent my summer as a camp counselor in New York State. On the way to New York State, I spent a couple of days in New York City, and went to the Statue of Liberty – I climbed up lots of stairs inside it and touched the inside of the statues head! At the end of the summer, I traveled with an English girl who I met at the camp and we took greyhound buses around the East coast of America for a couple of weeks. We stayed in really grotty cheap youth hostels and ate virtually nothing, because we both almost ran out of money, but we had a great time. One of my best memories is swimming in really clear warm water in a bay in Daytona Beach, Florida. I would recommend to anyone to do what I did – to travel to America to work. I went with Camp America, and they organised all the transport and stuff so it didn’t cost me anything. 

Anyway, I’ll stop blethering  now!No! That sounds really amazing…! I cant believe you can go inside it’s head… But i dont think i want to go anymore… climbing all those stairs might be hard work!I actually am diagnosed with Pronated feet. If you dont know what that is (Which actually not many people do) then it’s not that bad, it’s just that the arches in my feet are really flat and, well, not there!!!!!It just means my feet get sore really easily and they’re even sore when im standing for like, 1 minute!!! But that doesnt stop me doing stuff!!!Ha ha, I also do kickboxing so i’m probably not helping my feet (OOPS) but i’m doing exercise and helping the rest of my body… ha ha… muscle!!!!!πŸ˜€

It was really tiring – I remember that there was a really long queue going up the Statue of Liberty, so as well as climbing stairs, there was lots of standing and waiting, so even though I was young and there was nothing wrong with me at the time, I was pretty footsore. Now I have a type of arthritis so there’s no way I would attempt it – Also I’m scared of heights now -when I was a teenager I stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon, and pretended I was going to fall in  – now just thinking about it makes me terrified! 

Good for you for kick-boxing – sounds like fun – a good way to take out your aggression. 

I got this message from Rachael on 16th March:

 I just finished reading The Forbidden Room and it is the best book I have ever read

Wow – Thanks Rachael – I’m really glad you liked it.

 Meg wrote to me again on 10th March:

To Sarah ,
                Was The Black Swan good?? When is your bday coming up?? I got a BlackBerry by the way!!
Talk soon! Meg xxxx 

Hi Meg,

I thought The Black Swan was pretty good but a bit freaky! My birthday is in June. Wow, you got a blackberry – that’s awesome! I don’t have anything that does the internet on the move – the rest of my family have either ipods or android phones, but I just have my old mobile that makes phone calls and texts and not really anything else. I get scared by new technology, although, if I was rich I think I’d like an ipad or a kindle for bringing lots of books on holiday so my suitcase isn’t too heavy!. I have a Nintendo DS which I like.

This message from Amy arrived on Wed 2nd March:

i heard u were coming to my school i a would have loved to meet u!! but my teacher would let us out! 😦 love your books i just finished the first one! it was AMAZING! i couldnt put it down!! 

Hi Amy,

Was I already at your school or is it one I’m going to soon? I’m sorry I missed you if I was already there. Teachers! (What are they like?!) I’m glad you liked the book – I hope you like the other one too (if you read it). I’ll add you name (and anyone who writes in) to the next free draw, so if you’re lucky you might win a signed copy. 

you were at my school on moday!- Coleraine College! just to let u know i have the trap! it was really good as well but forbidden room is my favourite!! πŸ˜€

Oh – sorry I missed you 😦 

That’s interesting that you liked The Forbidden Room more than The Trap – I’d like to hear from more people which is their favourite out of the two books.

I heard from my old friend Meg on 26th January:

Hi Sarah ,

It is my birthday on the 27th! How are you? Meg xxx 

Hi Meg,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! Are you doing anything special for you birthday? It was my husband’s birthday on 23rd – we went out to our favourite restaurant in Belfast (Beatrice Kennedy’s) and saw the movie Black Swan.

Are you still writing, Meg? I’ve just started writing a new book, but it’s going pretty slowly at the moment – dripping rather than flowing. I have to force myself to write, although, when I do, I’m usually glad I did!

I hope you have the best birthday ever! keep in touch,


(oh – I’m very well, thanks for asking πŸ™‚ ) 

I got this message from Martin on Tuesday 18th January:

Hi just wanted to say I love both your books their both my favourite cant wait for the next one . .

Hi Martin,

I’m so glad you like my books – thank you! I’m still writing – I sent one book off to my publishers a couple of months ago, and I’ve just started writing a new book. I really hope I get a date for a new book to hit the shops very soon. I’ll announce it on the website when I do!

Leah sent me this message on 16th January:

Hi Sarah, I’m a big fan of yours I love the forbidden room, and my question is, what inspired you to start writing novels? (prize draw) Leah x (your coming to my school in February) πŸ™‚

Hi Leah! I’ve entered you in the prize draw – which has just reminded me that I was supposed to do it at the beginning of January and I forgot – I’ll get onto it asap. What inspired me to start writing novels? – wow, that’s a big question with a big answer – I’ll tell you all about it when I visit your school (I’m looking forward to it) but if you want to know more before then, check outΒ The I Wonder Years

Elyn Rowe sent me this message which arrived in the wee small hours of Monday morning (13th December):

Hi Sarah, I’m working on a book repost for The Forbidden Room, and I left my book at school. I was just wondering if it said anywhere in the book what Jenny’s last name is ? If you could help me out that would be great ! πŸ™‚

Hi Elyn, 

I’m guessing you must live in America – is that right? (Because Elyn’s messages always arrive in the middle of the night). In answer to your question, Jenny’s full name is: Jennifer Moonchild Firstjoy Ackerman. Quite a mouthful, I know – blame her crazy mother!

Meg sent me this opening to her story on Sat 11th December:

  Hi Sarah, 

              Sorry I haven’t been writing for a while been busy at my new school!
               Hope you like my story! 

“Me and my Anna walked into the house to explore, that’s all we did!”  I told the police. They didn’t believe me though that’s why I’m being suspected for Anna Sreyfed’s (my best friend’s) murder. Honestly I didn’t do it! Maybe we should rewind the story a bit so you understand more………

It was Halloween, me and Anna decided to explore the Old Peoples home which had been shut down years ago. She said I should dare her to do it and she would dare me to do it. We both pushed on the door and it squeaked open.  A floor board collapsed and she fell through, I pulled her out but she’d hurt her ankle. I said maybe we should go but she wanted to carry on. We turned on the lights and nosed around for a bit. Then the lights went out, we ran for the door but it slammed shut. We both screamed then someone punched me and I was knocked out. When I woke up there was blood all over me, I turned over and Anna was lying there, as white as a ghost with all her legs and arms twisted in the wrong places. I checked her pulse……….dead. I ran away to my house tears streaming down my face to see the police at my house. I ran inside and mum hugged me, Anna’s mum was there too. I showed the police Anna and she was carried away with her Mother screaming that I’d murdered her…………………….

Hi Meg!

Wow! what a great opening to a book – I’m gripped and intrigued about what’s going to happen next. It raises loads of questions like: Who killed Anna? Will the police believe that you (the main character) didn’t do it? Is the person who killed Anna going to come after you? Exciting!

Thanks for sending it and thanks for getting in touch again – keep writing!

This message from Elynrowe arrived on Thursday 9th December:

Hi Sarah, I just wanted to let you know that I LOVED your book The Forbidden Room. I just couldn’t put it down, the suspense was great, and I think that you’re a really great writer. Please publish more books!

Hi Elynrowe (is that Elyn Rowe, or is it all one name?). I’m so glad you liked The Forbidden Room. Have you tried reading The Trap? I’m trying really hard to get more books books published – I keep sending them to the publisher, but they’ve rejected the last couple. I sent a new one not long ago and I’m waiting to hear back from them – it’s a murder mystery and a ghost story. I’m about to start writing another new book about a girl who is a clone of her mother, but there’s some huge secret about her that she doesn’t know, and weird things start happening to her. I’m having a bit of writer’s block about actually getting started though!

I got this message from Nigel Tohill on Monday 15th November:

Hey Sarah hope you don’t me contacting you just to let you know that Abbatastic – The No 1 Tribute Band are playing in The Portrush Playhouse 47-51 Main Street, PORTRUSH.Co Antrim BT56 8BN Tickets are just Β£10 on 3rd December 2010 – noticed that you are a Mama Mia Fan – Hope to see you there and let your friends know – thanks Nigel

I’m happy to plug Nigel’s event on my website – us artists have to stick together, right? So if you’ll be in the Portrush area on 3rd December and you’re an ABBA fan – or just a fan of a fun night out, why not give it a go?

This message from Meg arrived on Saturday 6th November (I’m only getting around to answering it now, Mon 8th – sorry Meg, sometimes it takes me a while to get organised, especially at the weekends!):

Have u won any awards 4 ure books?

 Good question, Meg. Um, well, the first book, The Forbidden Room, won the writing competition ‘The Wow Factor’ and the prize was to get published. There were three and a half thousand entrants, and all kinds of important people on the judging panel, including Philip Schofield and Fern Britton (I got to go on their This Morning show twice – once when they announced the winner and again when the book came out). It got long-listed for the Carnegie prize (which is a really big deal, although long-listed meant it was only in like the top forty or something, but still, I was happy). It also got shortlisted for a few regional book awards – I got to go to Newcastle for one award ceremony, but I didn’t win (I was really nervous meeting the other writers who were much more experienced (and much more posh) than me. The Trap got shortlisted for some regional awards too – I got to go to Lancashire for a weekend of events around their award, but again I didn’t win (I had a great time though – I was less nervous that time, and everyone was really nice).

Meg replied on Monday 8th November:

Well done on the wow factorThanks Meg! It was so exciting – being on TV and all that, but the best thing was when my book hit the shops – awesome!

Meg wrote again on 3rd November:

OH MY GOSH! I can’t believe Stephen Holland is in ure new book. Is he the same character as in the forbidden room or have you just used the same name!?! 

It’s the same Stephen Holland!! Because lots of people wanted to know what happened to him after the end of The Forbidden Room, I put him in to this book so he can tell us himself. 

Here’s hoping they publish it! (If only I had thousands of fans, they could all write to Faber and Faber and demand the new book!)

Here’s Meg’s question from Monday 1st November:

Can u tell me a bit bout ure new book?

The book that I just finished writing is called Ruby Dead (although, if it gets published, the title might get changed) and it’s part ghost story, part murder mystery, part romance and part family drama. The two main characters are called Ruby (she’s been murdered) and Megan (she’s being ‘haunted’ by Ruby). It’s set in Belfast, where I live. If you’ve read The Forbidden Room, you might be interested to know that Stephen Holland is in it too. 

Meg wrote again on Sunday 31st October:

Wat made u cum up with ure idea 4 the trap?

Hi again, Meg πŸ™‚

Three different things came together in my head to come up with the idea for The Trap. One was because I worked one summer (when I was nineteen) as a camp counsellor at an American summer camp, and I thought that would be a really interesting place to set a book. The second was I read a book called ‘Gentlemen and Players’ by Joanne Harris, which had a really big plot twist that I didn’t see coming, and made my jaw literally drop, and I thought I wanted a big plot twist like that in my next book, and the third was something my son’s friend said – at the time my son was best friends with a girl called Charis, and one day she asked me why don’t I write about a treasure hunt, and that set me thinking about my summer camp plot twist book, and I thought, yeah, that would work.

This message from Meg arrived on Saturday 30th October:

Loads of ‘good’ authors as the paper says who have wrote lots of books your no where near as good a quality as them i mean ure book is amazing! Id rather be like you and have 2 or 3 books which are amazing them loads that r ok. I know wat i want 2 be wen im older another Sarah Wray!! I mean how many authors do u know with a prize draw and free autographs. U are jusr gr8!!

 Thanks Meg, It does still make me really happy that I do have two books out there, and lots of people seem to like them, but I’d like to have lots more published anyway.

 Here’s a question from Meg (29th October):

What is  the trap bout sarah plz can u send the autograph i want 2 b like u wen im older and write a book as fantastic as ures

Thanks Meg – all I want out of life (except for all the obvious things like health for my family etc) is to write really well and to write things that people like to read, so I’m so happy that you liked The Forbidden Room and I’m honoured that you want to be like me! 

The Trap is a mystery thriller set in an American Summer camp where people start to go missing and main character, a fifteen year old boy called Luke ends up being chased through underground caves fighting for his life. There’s a page about it on the website – click on the link on the left of the page.

I will send you an autograph to the address you’ve emailed to me.

It’s Meg again! She sent this question on 29th October:

What day exactly will the prize draw take place?

The draw will take place on Sunday 31st October.

This message just arrived from Susan: (29th October):

Hi Sarah, Love your website and blog, hope you have good news about Blood and Snow soon. Could you please enter me in your free draw for either of your books. Best wishes Susan

Hi Susan, Sometimes I think no-one reads my blog, so I’m tempted to write really crazy stuff in it just to see if anything would happen! I hope I get good news soon too! Yesterday I was feeling really down about the state of my career, and then I read what Darren Shan wrote on his website about rejection, which kind of reminded me that almost all writers have to go through it some stage, and Darren Shan, like me had trouble publishing his third book, and now look at him, so I shouldn’t give up hope yet. I’ve entered you into the draw which will take place on Sunday – good luck!

Another message from Meg arrived today (Thursday 29th October):

Wat made u cum up with the idea 4 the forbidden room?

I always find it really hard to come up with ideas that I like enough to work into a whole book, but the idea for The Forbidden Room came to me all at once when I was watching a news story about a family whose son was dying of a genetic disease and they wanted to use IVF to select an embryo for a new baby that would have the right kind of DNA to take cells and treat their sick son. I got thinking about what would I do if it was me, or how far would parents go to save their kids if they could.

Meg wrote again on Tues 26th October (2010):

Can i have your autigraph plz i just luv your work. You no it said someone will win did i?!? Your amazing!!

The draw for the next free signed book will take place on 31st October – that’s this Sunday!! Fingers crossed everyone, I’ll contact the winner by email after the draw.

I’m happy to sign my name and a personalised message on a piece of paper or a sticky label and send it through the post to anyone who wants it – then you could stick it into your own copy of one of my books (or buy one from Amazon or somewhere). Just email me your postal address so I know where to send it. πŸ™‚

This message from Meg arrived on 16th October:This book was amazing!!!

Thanks Meg! 

Which book did you read?

I just finished a new book and the two main characters are called Megan (is your name short for Megan?) and Ruby (inspired by Ruby Leather who used to contact me all the time!) 

No my name isnt short 4 megan but do u mean uve just read a new book or just written one cause if u hav wen will it b in book shops i sooo want 2 read it and maybe enter myself in the prize draw 4 it

I meant I just finished writing a new book – I’ve sent it to my agent as well as to my editor at Faber and Faber, so I’m waiting to see what they thought of it (very nerve-racking!). If they do like it and decide to publish, it’ll take almost a year to go through all the editing and production stages (I know, it take ages!!). I’ll definitely put the publication dates in big flashing letters at the top of my home page if and when I find out πŸ™‚

Joanne sent this message on 24th September:

Please can I have a signed book! I love your work!

 Hi Joanne,

I’ve put you into the next draw to win a signed book that will take place at the end of October (Somebody should email me to remind me if I forget, which I sometimes do!). If you (or anyone) wants to buy a signed book off me, I’ll sell either The Forbidden Room or The Trap for Β£5 each, and sign them personally for you (contact me to arrange payment – either paypal or a cheque in the post). If anyone wanted me to write them a message and signature on a piece of paper or a sticky label, I’ll do that for free – just email me your address, then you can buy the book from anywhere (Amazon has them, as well as some bookshops) and stick the name in. Not as good as an actual signed book, but still not bad πŸ™‚

This message from Amy arrived on 11th September:

Hi Sarah I’m a really big fan and i live really close to you and i was wondering if you could sign the forbidden room for me and also i went to the same school as your children and I’m a year younger than christy Love Amy :-*

Hi Amy,

How nice to hear from you – do you live in Finaghy? I live in Sicily Park, and my children all went to Finaghy Primary and now they all go to Methody. Were you at Finaghy Primary then? Where do you go to school now? 

I’d be happy to sign your copy of The Forbidden Room. We should meet up – maybe in Finaghy Library? I’ll send you an email to arrange it. If you or any of your friends have any questions about the book, bring them along and I’ll try and answer those as well.

 This nice message from Robert, which arrived on 4th Sept lifted my spirits:

 I think you’re a great author. I say this not only because of your books, but because I like the way you talk about yourself, your journey through “the I wonder years”. I hope you’re alreay working on a new book. Blessings!

Thanks, Robert! Getting nice messages like this from my readers really does make me happy – especially since once again my career is not going so well, with still no publisher picking up my new work since Faber dropped me. I love writing, and I don’t ever want to stop, and it’s a great feeling having the two books that are published out there. It still gives me a thrill now and again just looking at one of my books and realising it’s real and people read it and (some of them) love it. 

I am still writing and have almost finished a new book which I think is pretty good (even if I say so myself).

Once again thanks and blessing to you too! 

This message from Nicola arrived on 27th August: 

I think you are as good as Pillip Pullman! ‘The forbidden room’ was an amazing read. I am a teacher and will be reading it to my class. It is written so beautifully. I couldn’t put it down. I have just ordered ‘The Trap’ and a second copy of the Forbidden room as my original copy fell apart on holiday; Waterstones said it was out of print so I am so pleased Amazon had a copy. I’d hate to lose it from my collection.

Wow! Thanks Nicola – that’s pretty high praise πŸ™‚

There’s a teacher in Belfast who reads The Forbidden Room to his class every year, and always has me in to visit – they do lots of work like storyboards and alternate endings, and have lots of questions for me, I always enjoy those visits. (It’s a primary 7 class, which is the final year in Primary/Junior school here in NI).

Eek! That’s news to me about The Forbidden Room being out of print – I’ve fired off an email to my publishers to ask them about it – hopefully either Waterstones were mistaken, or a new print run is imminent. 

This very nice email from Mitchel arrived on 15th August:

(Mitchel’s message contains some spoilers for The Trap – don’t read it if you haven’t read The Trap yet – unless like me you have a really bad memory and will have forgotten the spoilers by the time you actually read the book!)

Hello again, you may remember me from quite a few months ago but I just had to say I have been reading your book ‘The Trap’ and I have to say that it is ‘THE BEST’ book I have ever read, I thought the use of language is great, it is described brilliantly, and has a great twist near the end I thought it was a quite Adventurous, Romantic, Horrific, and Comical, it was just out of this world, I thought the bit where Natalie and Luke are in the cave and she falls and he can’t hold on, I thought that was really sad but it was really good and that when it described star being brought out of the cave, I thought she had died but she was alive, so all in all I’d give it 100/10 it was just so good. I’m surprised that no film company have came asking to make a full Movie on the whole book, it would be really good to! Sorry for making this quite long to read but I just had to say haha. I hope you come back to visit our school sometime (Antrim Grammar) Thanks From Mitchel

Hi Mitchel – Thanks for being so positive about my book – that really makes me happy. I was trying to make it adventurous, romantic, horrific and comical, so I’m glad that’s what you thought about it! I hope I come back to Antrim Grammar soon too.

Thanks, I forgot to say I’m looking forward to reading The Forbidden Room!

I hope you enjoy it.

The website has been quiet for a while, so it was nice getting this message from Rachel on 21st July

 hiii its been  a long tim since ive spoke to u and do u now what your new books are going to be called ??? i would love to know x bye xx

Hi Rachel!

I stiiiiiiiiilllllll don’t have a publisher for the new book (or books, ’cause they’re stacking up!). Can you believe that? The one I wrote after The Trap is called ‘Blood and Snow’ (working title) and it got very positive responses from everyone at Faber (right before they dropped me!). I’ve finished another one since then, and I’m almost finished another, which is a murder mystery ghost story called Ruby Dead. I really don’t know what to do. My agent says, ‘be patient, the market will pick up,’ but I’m so frustrated. I’m really pleased with the work I’m doing at the moment, and I’m sure people who liked the first two books would like these too. What can I do to convince publishers to give me a big multi book deal (or even a little one book deal)???? Do you have any ideas, Rachel??

If you could find a bunch of people who liked my books they could all do a big facebook petition or something – or make-up raps on youtube (I did actually think of doing the You Tube rap thing myself, but since I’m 41 I thought I’d just look like a sad old person).

It’s great to hear from you, though πŸ™‚

This message arrived on Saturday 26th JuneHello Sarah.I am firdaus from Singapore.I am seriously a big fan of your books.They are fantastic.I love them.The most favourite is The Trap.I Love The WHOLE STORY.I really hope that you could write more books.THANK YOU FIRDAUS.

Wow, that’s exciting – getting ‘fan mail’ from Singapore! I’m so glad you liked my books, Firdaus. I am working on some more books – mystery thrillers like The Forbidden Room and The Trap. Hopefully they’ll be published soon.

I got this message from my old friend Ruby Leather on Sunday 2nd MayHaven’t wrote in ages just wondered how your doing ? re-read the forbidden room the other day it was as good as ever. I really cant wait to read your new books,, will it be coming out soon,, av yu gotta publisher for it ? hey anychance you could give me a sneaky sneak  preview or tell me what its about ? you remember my book about Sky and that the first on the your writing page ??? Well iv nearly finished it πŸ™‚ its taken me ages iv changed it quite a bit cos when i re-read it , it seemed childish and predictable but im quite please with it ,, you know saying iv finished it is such a lie im about 1/2 way through it it just seems to drag on for AGESSSSS. any tips for motivation im losing the will to live!!! =D please write abck asap xxxx

Hi Ruby!!!

Sorry it took me a couple of days to answer – my husband and kids were off school/work on Monday and Tuesday and I’ve been in holiday mode.

It’s so nice to hear from you again, Ruby! Although I have to tell you that I STILL haven’t got a new publisher 😦 Since the Trap was published, I’ve finished two new books, and I’m about half way through a third.

The first is called BLOOD AND SNOW. It’s set in Iceland (the country not the shop!) and it’s about an Irish girl who has lost her memory and all she can remember is blood spattering on snow. It’s a murder mystery story with a bit of Irish and Icelandic mythology thrown in (and some romance).

The second doesn’t really have a name yet, but it’s about some kids from the 1980s and a girl from the present who’s twin brother went missing when they were six, and a teenage boy who was abandoned in the jungle in Africa when he was six (any guesses about who he is?) and was looked after by gorillas (like Tarzan). It’s kind of a mystery thriller.

The one I’m writing now is called either RUBY DEAD or WHO KILLED RUBY RED. I used your name!! (not the Leather bit, just the Ruby bit). It’s a murder mystery, and it begins with Ruby looking at her own dead body under the frozen surface of a lake in a park in Belfast. She kind of possesses a girl called Megan, and they try and figure out how she died. 

Don’t worry about getting ‘writer’s block’. All writers get it (at least I do!) Sometimes my ideas come so fast I can hardly type fast enough, and sometimes I’m completely stumped and I can’t hardly write anything. I always change the beginning as I go along – cause the story grows as you’re writing in, and the beginning has to change to fit with the rest of the story (if that makes sense). Sometimes you just have to take a break or sometimes you have to stick with it and write any old rubbish just to get you back into the swing of it (you can always change it later).

Keep going Ruby – if I can you can!

Tighearna sent me this message on 29th April

 Hey, Umm

You Came To My School a few Days Ago, St. Genevieve’s. Im in 10e. I just wanted to say i really enjoyed your speech and I had read both your books And thought they were amazing, thank you for coming in, you were inspiring ox

Hi Tighearna (I love your name by the way – it’s one of my favourite names – pronounced Tier-Na like Tir Na Nog)

Thanks! I had a good time at your school. I really hope I do inspire people do follow their dreams even when it’s hard. I’m glad you liked the books too πŸ™‚

Eimear sent me this message on 28th April

You visted me in St Geneveive’s today.

I had so much fun and now i am so excited to start reading your books.

I hope you have a new one out soon so i have a new adventure to go into to. I love to read i would love to be a writer but as you said it is a very hard industry to get into.x

Hi Eimear,

I’m glad you enjoyed my visit – I had fun too πŸ™‚

I hope you do get to be a writer – if that’s what you really want then it’s worth trying and trying for as long as it takes to get there! I’ll look out for your name on the cover of a book one day.

I got this message from Megan on 27th April – the day I visited her school. Megan’s class are about to read The Forbidden Room as a class book. They have voted for their favourites of the books they’ve read already, and Phillip Pullmans brilliant Northern Lights Trilogy is the winner so far.

this is megan im from hazelwood intergrated primary school you visited us on tuesday 27th of april i seen the picture of ur dog she is so cute and i would just like to say thank you for coming to see us !!!!!

Hi Megan!

I had a good time at your school today – I always enjoy visiting Hazelwood Primary. You all had a lot of good questions. I hope you enjoy reading The Forbidden Room although I don’t think I’m as good as writer as Phillip Pullman yet – If you look at one of the pictures on the home page on the website I’m holding a Phillip Pullman book and wishing I was as good as him.

Roxie is really cute – she’s even cuter in real life and really friendly and happy. I love her!

I got this message from Rachel on Wed 21st April

hi its me rachel and i go to balshawlane primary school in euxton i would love to win a signed book love rachel xxx

Hi Rachel

I looked up in google where Euxton is, and I see it’s in Lancashire – I went to Lancashire last year for the lancashire Children’s book of the year award (I came third) and I had a really great time. I grew up in Formby, which is really close to Lancashire. I will add your name to the list for the next free draw, Rachel which will happen really soon. Good luck!

This message from Jessica arrived on Wed 21st April

I can`t wait for your new book coming out

Hi Jessica

I can’t wait either. I hope it happens soon πŸ™‚

I got these messages on Monday 19th April

hey i havent spoken to you before over the computer !!!! From Holly

Hey Holly!

Hello!!:):) Just wanted 2 say hi! How yal doin? From Hannah

Hi Hannah! I’m doing great thanks – just off to my aqua aerobics class πŸ™‚

This message from Sarah Arrived on Wed 14th April

Hey, your books are cool I ❀ the trap! It is really good and the codess are AWSOMEE. G2g πŸ˜› πŸ˜€

Thanks Sarah – I had fun writing the codes, although I had to write them out lots of times until there were no mistakes and they were neat enough to go into the book!

This message from Derika arrived on Monday 12th April

Can you write chapter summaries.It would really help.

Hi Derika,

You don’t say which book you want chapter summaries for, or why. It sounds like you’re asking me to do your homework, and since I have three jobs and three kids and a life of my own I’d have to say ‘clear off – do your own homework!’

Thanks for getting in touch though πŸ™‚

it was for the forbidden room. πŸ˜€ i read it though itwas a really good book πŸ™‚ the ending freaked me out with the cells πŸ˜› but thanks anyway πŸ™‚ great book.

Thanks Derika! Now I feel bad about telling you to clear off! (I still don’t want to do you homework though πŸ™‚

This message from Sarah arrived on Monday 12th April

I just wanted to Sayy Hey! Your books are awsomee

Thanks Sarah!

I got this message from Ralph on Thursday 8th April

I loved your book the trap so much It is the most amazing and captivating I have ever read please write another one about luke meeting up with star and going back again. Please I beg of you!Please get back to me. Your N1 fan.

Hi Ralph,

Thanks for the message – I’m glad you liked The Trap. I hadn’t been thinking about writing a sequel with Luke and Star in it, but not that you mention it, I’m thinking it could work. Star is one of my favourite characters, and she didn’t have that big of a role in the book, what with disappearing and everything. I’ll think about it, so you never know, it could happen.:-)

Hi thankyou so much for getting back to my message. I really think you should write a sequel to the trap, by the look of your fan mail everyone else wants you too as well Si I really think you should make another one everyone loves them !!!! πŸ™‚

Even though I still haven’t found a publisher for my new books, it’s emails like this one that came from Rachel on 31st March that make me determined to keep writing and keep believing that I will be published again.

i absolutely never read id do anything but read and ur book was excellent im gonna read it for ever iv not read the forbidden room but considering i loved the trap im going to give it a go and im sure illl love it as its from u this boook is just really good THE TRAP please write back and you’re my favorite author and always will be in fact imm reading right now the trap again my 3rd time its just so good im addicted to it plz write another book like that its funny,scary and i would say its a bit romantic my favorite character is star shes very cool and i think any one who has not read it yet needs to read it its a very good boook i would recommend it and im only 11 so …. xxxxxxx

Hi Rachel

Thank you so much for writing to me! I’m really happy that you like The Trap so much. I have a few books that I love to read and re-read and I think it’s amazing that someone feels that way about one of my books. You should read The Forbidden Room – it is also a bit funny and a bit scary and it has a bit of romance. I’m writing more books – I’ve written two and a half since The Trap, but my publisher (Faber and Faber) dropped me, so I’m looking for a new publisher for them. When I find a new publisher, even before I go out and have a party to celebrate, I’ll write it in my website in big flashing letters (if I can figure out how!) so anyone who looks at my website will be the first to know.


PS – I think Star is my favourite character too – she’s based on a girl I knew when I was nineteen and I worked in an American summer camp for a couple of months.

I was booked to do a school visit on World Book day (4th March) at Bangor Academy, with a video link to another school in Northern Ireland (St Patricks in Dungannon) but unfortunately St Pats had an inspection sprung on them at the last minute, so it’s been postponed. I got some messages from pupils at Bangor Academy both before and after they’d been told that the visit was off for now.

Hey What up? I will be meeting u on Thursday at Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College! I am in 8A3. From Hannah.

Hi it it it it I don`t believe it it it it is SARAH WRAY you are Awesome with a capital A you are going to my school on Thursday (Bangor Academy)see you there. From Jessica.

I am 12 years and we have had to do a homework on you because you were meant to be coming to my school tomorrow-Bangor Academy. I just wanted to know how you feel when you get told that you can’t come or go to a school for whatever reason? Do you like being called out to all of these school visits, or is it a real chore to go to them? Bye Bye. From Hannah.

Hi Hannah and Jessica and everyone at Bangor Academy and St Pat’s!When I heard this morning that my visit to your school tomorrow had been postponed, I was kind of disapointed, but not too badly, because it’s just postponed and not cancelled, and it means I get a day off tomorrow that I wasn’t expecting and hopefully I’ll get some more work done on my new book.

I really do enjoy school visits. (Although I still get a little bit nervous before them!) I especially like meeting someone who’s read one or both of my books and liked them – that gives me a real buzz. I also like meeting people who love to read, like I do, or people who want to become writers themselves one day – I think that’s pretty cool.

Hopefully I will get to come to your school really soon, and then you can ask me questions like this in person!

Lucy sent me this message on 17th January

Hey Sarah, Lucy from Lisburn in Northern Ireland here. Just thought i would say i loved both of your books by far the best i’ve read they were so clever and the turn of every page suprised me, i couldn’t take my eyes off the page i didnt want to put it down, i was just wondering where your ideas for the books came from? πŸ™‚

Hi Lucy,

Little bits of ideas pop into my head all the time, although I forget most of them (I must start carrying a notebook about with me so I can write them down). The idea for The Forbidden Room came to me when I was watching the news and a story kind of similar to what had happened to the Hollands came on. I wondered what I would do in their situation, and how far a parent would go to save their child, and that’s kind of where the idea came from. The Trap brings together several different ideas I’d had. The main ‘twist’ idea came from a book I read called ‘Gentlemen and Player’ by Joanne Harris. It has a really shocking twist (I didn’t see it coming anyway). It’s not the same twist as The Trap, but I wanted to recreate the feeling of shock when the reader finds out who is behind it all. I often get ideas from books or movies – obviously you can’t just copy other stories, but they can spark your imagination to come up with something with your own spin on it. Last Saturday I saw the movie ‘Daybreakers’ and I thought it had a really clever story and I wished I had written it!

This message arrived on 17th January

hey, i read your book “the forbidden room” and i fell in love with it, so when i found “the trap”i had to read it and i think its de best book i ever read (and i read a lot of books) and i was thinking…im really into acting but i never get to act anywhere special, so if you’re thinking about making this book into a movie, could you maybe suggest the auditions to be open because i dont have an agent and it would be hard for me to get one.

im a big fan of you and i hope to read more of your books soon.

thank you so much, all the best

weronika from London

Hi Weronika,

Wow, I’m glad you liked my books so much – I really hope you get to read more of them soon too :-). I would love it if they made a movie from one of my books, my agent, Simon Trewin, is the agent for John Boyne who wrote ‘The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas’ and he got a movie, so you never know. I think it’s great when new talent gets showcased in movies – I can get lost in a story more if I don’t recognise the actors from fifty million other films, and since my books have young people as main characters, they especially lend themselvies to being cast with new people. If I did have a movie made, and I had any say over the casting, I would suggest open casting. (Although I’d also beg for Johnny Depp to be in it so I could meet him at the premier!)

i read your reply….thank you

and i hope u do get to meet Jonny Depp, dreams come true, so dont give up. xx

Chris sent me his awesome artwork on 14th January

Hi Sarah, my teacher told us to re-make a book cover as a homework so I chose the trap. I’ve added some attachments of the cover I made.

By the way, I love the end of The Trap.

From Chris

Thanks Chris! I’ve put one of the pictures of your cover design on the ‘The Trap’ page of the website.

I got this message from Dorothy on 11th January

Just wanted to say, I found the content of your workshop list very helpful and inspiring.

Hi Dorothy

Thanks for your comment, it’s nice to be appreciated! The day I took that workshop the whole time was taken up with questions and answers, so I didn’t get to go through the worksheet. I gave them the printout to take home though, since they’d paid for a workshop and only really got a chat. Yours is the first feedback I’ve got from it, so thanks.

This message from Christopher arrived on 4th January

Hi, I’m from Bangor Academy and I’m really enjoying The Trap. I’m going to read it when I get Home ; )

Hi Christopher,

I’m glad you’re enjoying The Trap – are you reading it with your class in school or did you buy it when I visited your school? I hope you like the ending!

Chris replied:

I dunno what could happen but I’m really excited =D

I bought The Trap when you visited Bangor Academy but I’m trying to get my teacher to get copies. πŸ˜‰

I got this message from Niamh on 24th December, but I’m only getting around to putting it on the website today (6th January). I was chilling with the family over Christmas, but I’m back to work now. (I’m lucky ’cause I love my job – sitting at home making up stories, what’s not to love!)


trying to get published. whats your publixhers adress. and what are their recirments. what is the , whole run down on their rotine on being oublished.

please help me!!!!

I’ll say thanks in my cridits in the book

Hi Niamh,

It’s so hard getting published. Some people get lucky and find a publisher really quickly, then others, (like me) take years to get signed. I think it’s even harder than ever at the moment because of the recession, but then things can only get better, right? I think it’s a good idea to try and get an agent. You can get agents names and addresses either from the internet, or by buying (or getting from the library) the Annual Writers’ and Artists’ Handbook. Make sure you only apply to agents (or publishers) who deal with the type of thing you write, and send them a letter and a chapter or two of your work. It sounds obvious, but make sure you present your work really well – double space type, proper punctuation and spelling etc, or else they’ll not even bother to read it.

I really do wish you luck. I’m still trying to find a publisher for my third book, but at least I have an agent (Simon Trewin – if you google his name you’ll get his details).

Let us know here if you have success.

How long on avarage does it take for publishers to get back to you?

Because I have an agent now, it all goes through him, but back in the day when I sent things off to publishers myself, there was one publisher who always sent them straight back with their standard rejection letter, literally like the next day, so they obviously hadn’t bothered to read them at all. Some didn’t respond to me for up to six months or even a year, although I’d say most sent me back my stuff after around two to three months. It’s hateful waiting, I know, and then it’s terrible when the rejection letters come, and it’s hugely exciting when they ask to see more of your work. I never had the experience of actually getting a contract that way, since The Forbidden Room was published as a result of winning the Wow Factor competition, and then my second book, The Trap, was just through emails with my editor. Now hopefully my agent will give me the good news if (or when – please when) someone wants to publish the next one.

Carolyn sent me this message on 22nd November

Hi, I just want to say thanks for coming to my school the other day (Antrim Grammar School) I really enjoyed your visit and I have started reading the forbidden room. So thanks again!

Hi Carolyn,

Thanks for getting in touch. I’m glad you enjoyed my visit – I enjoyed it too!

This message from Jordan arrived on 20th November

hi sarah you were at our school the other day and i bought the trap and i just wanted to say that it is a brillant book the best i’ve ever read

Hi Jordan

Thank you so much – it really means a lot to me to hear that from someone like you who’s read my book – it cheers me up when I’m stressed out about finding a new publisher for my next books.

These messages came in yesterday (19th November)

hi sarah i really love both your books but my favourate one is the trap and if you wouldnt mind can i please have your mobile number thanks megan reply asap xx

Hi Megan

Wow, I’m glad you like both books – thanks! It’s interesting that The Trap is your favourite – I wonder if anyone else who’s read them both would like to write in and tell me which you liked better?

I’m sorry, I don’t give out my mobile number. Half the time I don’t know where my phone is anyway, or I don’t hear it ringing, so you’re much better to get in touch by email, or through the website.

Hello, You visited my school on Tuesday (Antrim Grammar) I really enjoyed your visit I thought it was very interesting, I didn’t get a chance 2 buy 1 of your books which I really wanted 2 but I’m going 2 get both of them soon because I’ve heard my classmates like them nd the trap sounds really good. I’m sorry I didn’t ask you any questions I’m just kind of shy when it comes to speaking out. I loved your visit and found it very inspiring, I actaully want to become a writer myself, Mostly about horror, action, mystery.

I wish you all the the best on your other books.

maybe talk to you some other time

bye =:)From Mitchel

Hi Mitchel,

I’m glad you enjoyed my visit. I did once get a comment on my website from a boy whose school I had visited who said he thought my talk was too long and couldn’t I have make it shorter!

I know what you mean about being shy – I would never have the nerve to put my hand up in a big group like that and ask a question -I’m naturally a very quiet person.

I think it’s great that you want to be a writer. I hope my talk has shown you that you have to keep trying and going for what you want even if (like me) you find it’s hard to get published. It’s really worth it in the end.

Everyone who sends me comments or questions gets entered into the free draw to win one of my books. The next draw is at the end of December, so you never know, you might win a book then. Good luck!

Thank you for replying to my message, is there anywhere I can send like a few pages of my like little story to you to see if you think it’s any good?

Hi Mitchel,

Sure, you can send me some of your story. You could send it to my email address here, and if you are brave enough I can put it on the ‘your writing’ page of my website.

I look forward to reading it.

Thank you so much and I think I will be brave enough lol, do you know any shops were I can get your books?

If you’re okay about buying things off the internet, then you can get my books from Amazon, or any of the online bookshops really. I know they sell them in Waterstones in Belfast as well as WH Smiths, but I’m not sure what bookshops you have in Antrim. If you ask in a bookshop and they don’t have them, I’m sure they could order them for you.

Yesterday (17th November) I had a great time at Antrim Grammar. Yesterday evening I got this message:

Hi, I am called Kirstin and I go to Antrim Grammar School. When you came to visit I had never heard of your books before and had no idea what they where like, but now at the moment I can’t put The Forbidden Room down. It is really good and I am really enjoying it. I have just got one question. What inspired you to write thrillers?

Please reply thank you so much bye.


Hi Kirstin!

I’m so glad you are enjoying The Forbidden Room.

What inspired me to write thrillers? Hmmm. Well, the seven books that I wrote before The Forbidden Room that didn’t get published were all different genres, but when I came up with the plot for The Forbidden Room, I thought it would make an exciting thriller, so that’s the way I wrote it. I like to read books that are exciting or moving or intriguing, so when I’m writing I try to write things that will make the reader feel something – happy or sad or scared even. The book I’m writing at the moment is a murder mystery, but I’m might try writing a book that isn’t a thriller or a mystery some time, just to be different!

hi, thanks for replying. I have nearly finished the forbidden room already, it is soo good. Good luck on your next book and thank you for visiting our school bye!

Thanks Kirstin. Bye!

I got this message from Heather yesterday (12th November)

Hi Sarah I think you are coming to our school today or Tuesday but we are looking 4 ward 2 it. Antrim Grammar Girls Roc!!!!

It’s Tuesday that I’m coming – see you then, Heather!

Abbie sent me this message on 12th November

Heeeeey, your coming to my school on tuesday( i think its tuesday) (antrim grammar) and well i just wanted to say how excited i am to actually see a famous author (and its not on TV!!)


Oh and… i like your website πŸ™‚

Can’t wait till next week.

Love, Abbie πŸ™‚


Hi Abbie!

Thanks! I’m excited about coming to your school too. I went to lots of schools in October, but yours is the only on in November so far. See you Tuesday!

Hannah sent me three messages on 11th November

hi my name is Hannah and i go to Antrim Grammar! i am so looking forward to asking you all the questions i want to hear on Tuesday! Maybe once you are finished talking our school will put some of your books in our library id love to read some!!

Hi Hannah

I’m looking forward to hearing all your questions on Tuesday, and hopefully I’ll be able to answer them all! I will bring books with me to sell at Β£5 a copy, but if you don’t want to buy one, or if you can’t spare the money, I’m sure your school library could get some. I think the education and library board has copies that it lends around different schools, so your librarian could get some that way.

hi its hannah again! i wondering if you could enter my name to the prize draw just like you did for lauren that goes to Antrim Grammar also. PLEASE!!

Sure, I enter everyone who sends me a message.

i love reading so much ! i just cant put books down i could read a book a week. My favourite Authors are probably Roald Dahl and Jaquline Wilson but i would love to read some of you books because i love thrillers too and have read lots! i go to Antrim Grammar School and I am in 8T

I love reading too! I really like Roald Dahl books and my daughter used to love Jacqueline Wilson as well. I have lots of favourite authors, like Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and Kevin Brooks is good too, and Joanne Harris – I could go on and on….!

This message arrived on 11th November


My name’s Sophie and I also go to Antrim Grammar!! Wow your website is really cool!! Got loads of questions to ask you Friday though not too many!!!

Hi Sophie!!!!

Thank you! I’m glad you like my website. I must get some new photos though – my kids look much older now, and so does my dog!

I think it’s Tuesday that I’m going to your school, not Friday. (I hope I’ve got that right – I’d better check!) I’ll see you next week anyway πŸ™‚

Yesterday evening (10th November) I went to see the movie ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’. When I got back I saw this message in my inbox, but I was too tired to answer it until this afternoon.

Hi there,

I am Lauren and I am eleven years old. I go to Antrim Grammar School and you are visiting there next week, I CAN’T WAIT!!! AAAGGGHHH!!!

I wanted to enter the Free Draw but I am keeping my questions till Tuesday.

I have plenty!! LOL!

From Lauren (^_^)

Hi Lauren!

I’m really looking forward to coming to Antrim Grammar next week. I’ve added your name to the next draw to win a signed book which will take place at the end of December. You’ll be able to buy books off me if you want when I come to your school as well, and I’ll sign them for you, although, by the sound of it I’ll have to leave lots of time for all you questions!

This message came in on Thursday 5th November

Hi, i was one of the pupils from bangor academy and i was just wondering? Could you mention my name in the new book you are writing ‘Ruby Dead i would really appreciate it !! πŸ™‚ From Luke

Hi Luke,

Well, you already have the same name as the main character in The Trap, so I don’t know if I’ll use the name Luke again in Ruby dead. You’ll have to wait and see πŸ˜‰

These messages came in yesterday (3rd November) but I only got around to putting them up today (4th November)

Hi Sarah. I’m from Bangor Academy and I’m really enjoying The Trap. From Chris.

Hi Chris! I’m glad you are liking The Trap – I wonder if you can work out how it’s going to end?

Hello again I was just wondering if you don’t mind using my name in your new book because i would really like that it would be totally cool if u do thanks so much bye. From Jonny

Hi Jonny

I do sometimes use names from people I know in books. Your name is unusual because most people spell Johnny with and ‘h’. I’ll maybe name someone Jonny although the book I’m writing at the moment won’t be in the shops for absolutely ages.

It’s 3rd November and I’m trying to work on my new book ‘Ruby Dead’ I’m kind of stuck, so I was happy to be distracted by this message that arrived from Jonny.

Hello sarah you came to my school bangor academy it was great fun thanks byeee. Please reply.

Hi Jonny,

Thanks – I had fun at Bangor Academy too. I’ll be visiting Antrim Grammar in a couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to that as well.

another message just arrived from Jamie

hi you came to our school and i like your books

Hi Jamie

Do you go to Bangor Academy too? Were you one of the people who bought my books there? I’m glad you like them.

These messages arrived on 21st October






I’m glad you like The Trap!


SARAH!!!!! The Trap is faaaab cus its a really good story line, whenever i try to write someething like a story i cant ever think of a storyline, im writing a random story about to BFF’s becoming agents and i cant tink of a plot for it,x hELP? Bye xx Love R.

Hmmm. Your agents need something to be working towards that’s dangerous, like maybe someone is trying to blow up their school, or a shopping centre near where they live, and they have to find out who is doing it and stop them before loads of people die. Maybe the bad guy turns out to be someone who they thought was their friend, or a teacher who they thought they could trust? Do they have any special skills that would be useful for agents, like if they’re really good at skateboarding they could chase the bad guy on their skateboards, or if they’re good at languages then they could understand when the bad guys talk to each other in a foreign language, something like that. What do you think?

Hello sarah,

You were recently at my school Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College.It was a pleasure to have you at the school. I even managed to get you to sign my book.Your books are absoloutly amazing.

loads of hugs and kisses Abbie

Hi Abbie!

It was a pleasure visiting your school. Even though I love writing, it can get quite lonely so I enjoy getting out to meet people when I visit schools. I think it’s funny (but nice) when people treat me like I’m someone special, because I’m just ordinary really (although I guess everyone is special in their own way.)

Thank you sooo much for are amazing we read the first chapter of your book in school and it was amazing. From Abbie


Thanks Abbie!

hello I met you at my school Bangor Acadamey and you signed my book. From Jacob

Hi Jacob, I had a great time at Bangor Acadamy – what a cool new building you have -it’s very big, do you get lost in it? (you probably don’t, although I probably would!)

Hiiii! From Sophie

Hiiiii Sophie!

hi i luvv your books soo much i luv the trap thank you from sophie

I’m so glad you like my books. It really means a lot to me to hear that from people like you who’ve read them.

This message from Victoria arrived on the 13th October

Hi I am going to meet you soon and I can’t wait it will be great fun and I am going to buy one of your books they both look really good and I don’t know which one to pick. I wish I could be a great writer just like you thank you for reading this note bye

Hi Victoria

Do you go to Bangor Acadamy? If you do I’ll see you tomorrow, and you’ll hear my story. I think you’ll see that if I can write a book then anyone can! You should definately keep trying if writing is what you want to do – I’m glad that I did. I look forward to meeting you.

This message from James arrived on 12th October

I’m from Belfast High and I reaaly enjoyed your talk. I liked it when you told us how you kept writing books even though they weren’t being published.

Thanks James. It was hard keeping going, but then I really didn’t want to stop and I’m glad now that I kept trying!

This message from Jonathan arrived on 12th October

Hi sarah im from Lurgan Junior high if you remember. The Trap I think is an amazing BOOK

Thanks Jonathan! I do remember both St Mary’s in Lurgan and Lurgan JH gave me a great start to my week last Monday. I’m glad you liked The Trap.

Here’s another message from a pupil of Belfast High that arrived on 11th October

I am a pupil at Belfast High School.I enjoyed your talk to our class about the two of your books and I also liked how you let us join in, in deciphering the code from the trap! Both your books sound very exciting and interesting and I hope to get reading them very soon. I am also inspired about how determined you were to keep on going until your book was finally published! From Paul.

Thanks Paul! I enjoyed visiting your school, and I hope you like my books if you do get to read them.

I felt pretty ill with a cold on Friday 9th October but I still managed to make the two school visits in Downpatrick, and I’m glad I did – I got a lovely welcome from both St Mary’s in Downpatrick and St Colmcille’s in Crossgar. When I got home I found messages in my inbox from pupils of Belfast High.

I am a pupil at Belfast High school and i enjoyed your talk very much. I loved the way you told us all about how you became a author and how you didn’t give up. Im not mad keen on reading but your talk has inspired me to get your books and give them a go. Thank you very much for coming to talk to us and for telling me about your books. I think i will enjoy them alot and cant wait to start reading them.

Love Rachel Cooke X

Thanks Rachel! Wow, I hope you do read my books – if someone discovered the joy of reading because of me then that would make me really happy!

Im at belfast high school. I thought it was a bit long and you could have made the talk shorter. From Bahran.

Sorry you thought it was too long – the time just flew by for me!

I thought your talk was very informative and I was inspired about the way you didn’t give up and kept on going until your books were published. I really enjoyed your talk. From Samm

Thanks Samm!

Thank you for coming to Belfast High to talk about your books. I like the way that you were personal and told us about how you became a writer. I think your talk was very good, also I think your books sound good.

Thanks Matthew!

We’re at Belfast High. Thank you for coming to talk to us. We enjoyed trying to figure out the code. We’re both looking forward to reading more of your books. From Lauren and Rachael

Thanks, I hope I get more books published soon so you can read them too!

I’m at Belfast High School. I thought your talk was very motivational. It has inspired me to think about being an author. Thank you for coming to Belfast High.

That’s awesome, Connor – I hope I get to read one of your books one day!

I’m at Belfast High School. I thought in your talk you were very personal and you were very down to earth. I liked the way you explained that becoming an author isn’t easy.

Thank’s Connor. It certainly wasn’t easy for me! But I’m glad I stuck with it and finally got my books published.

Yesterday (7th October) I had a great day in Ballyclare, and was well looked after at Ballyclare High and Ballyclare Secondary and then I drove to Derry and stayed overnight at the lovely Da Vinci’s hotel (my room was about the size of my whole house in Belfast!). Today I visited two very welcoming schools in Derry, although I’m coming down with the cold and my voice barely held out for the three talks I gave today! I got home this evening and found this message that arrived yesterday:

Hi Sarah, i am a pupil from Lurgan Junior High School & i just wanted to say i love your book The Forbidden Room and i really enjoyed your visit to my school. A few of my friends & I are battling it out writing reviews about your visit to see which one the teachers will put in the school magaine. I myself am trying to write a short story to see if theres any sucess with it but it’s really hard. Have you got any tips? From Elizabeth xx

Thanks ElizabethI’m glad you liked The Forbidden Room. I wonder would your teacher send me a copy of the magazine so I can see what you wrote (or will it be on the internet?)

I sometime find it hard to write too. I think on days when I’m not very inspired I try to just write something, even if I don’t think it’s very good, because I can alway read over it and change it later, and sometimes when I read over it I think it’s better than I first though (if that makes sense) What I mean is, just keep trying! If you wanted you could send me your story and I’d put it on the ‘your writing’ page on the website.

It’s the 6th October and I’m pretty tired after a fun day at Glengormly High and Belfast High. These messages arrived today:

i really enjoyed the forbidden room. by the way i was the one that told you where reception was at lurgan junior high, from Matthew

Thanks Matthew! It can be quite confusing finding my way around all the different schools. I’m glad you liked The Forbidden Room.

We really enjoyed your visit to our school (ljhs) We both bought your books and we are enjoying them so far. From Zoe and Ashleigh

Thanks Zoe and Ashleigh. I enjoyed the visit too!

Later in the evening on the 5th October I got a couple more messages

hi sarah You were at my schol on the 5/10/2009 i really enjoyed when you talk to the year 9 in st marys i really love your books lots of love Aoife

Hi Aoife

I had a great time at your school. I’m glad you enjoyed it too.

hi sarah my name is aoibheann u were in my school on monday the 5th october in case u cant reamember it was st marys high school wen u cam and talked to all year nine puplis…ive just read the trap and it was a really fun book.. i was up from 1 am to like 3 pm reading it everynite for a whole week.

Hi Aoibheann

I missed off the end of your message, even though it was nice to hear which bits you liked in The Trap, but I didn’t want to give everything away to people who haven’t read it yet! Thanks for the message though, and I hope you like The Forbidden Room too!

thankss by the way do u know that girl aoibheann who u spelt her first letter l dat was mee xxx

Aoibheann – did I spell your name wrong today? I can’t remember! I was trying to be really quick ’cause there was a big queue. Sorry if I did 😦

Heyyy sarahh you where at my school today i think the parts in the book you read out where AMAZING!! really good i wish i could write a book… will thats all i got to say for now byeeeee….from Caitlin

Hi Caitlin

Thanks! I nearly always read that same bit from The Trap because it’s fun working out the code and also it’s funny when everyone jumps! I didn’t think I would be able to write a book until I just tried one day and then I discovered I could.

I had a FABULOUS day on 5th October at St Mary’s and Lurgan Junior High – I completely sold out of Forbidden Rooms and had to ring up and order more (they should arrive on Wednesday, but if I’m visiting your school on Tuesday or Wednesday, and they haven’t come yet, I’ll take your orders and bring them to you when I get them). I got this message from Niamh when I got home on Monday afternoon.

hey sarah! =] i LOVED your book the forbidden room – AMAZING!!! cant wait to see you on wednesday!

I’m so glad you liked the book. I’m looking forward to coming to your school too. If the rest of the week is anything like today, I think it’s going to be loads of fun. See you there!

This message arrived on 4th October from Chelsea

hi sarah i have been reading about your books/life it is all so interesting you are coming to visit my school on monday the 5th october and i’m very excited about it.

Hi Chelsea

I’m looking forward to the visiting your school too – are you at St Mary’s in Lurgan, or Lurgan Junior High? Either way, I’ll see you tomorrow!

This message from Kate arrived on 3rd October

‘The Trap’ was utterly fantastic!

The ending completely caught me by surprise. WOW!

Thanks Kate! I’m glad you liked it.

I got these messages on 2nd October

The forbidden trap is so good my eyes have been glued to the page all day from period to period at school. Also im from ljhs from Matthew

Hi Matthew

I hope you didn’t get in to trouble for reading in all your lessons! See you Monday

no no. u c it was always before class.also even this morning at after 8 o’clock all i could think about was reading thr book again

Oh, that’s okay then!

see u there

love laura

Thank you to Laura and everyone at Lurgan Junior High for all these messages. My website has never had so many hits before!

This message arrived in the evening on the 1st October

hey my name is sarah and i write stories i really want to be an author im reading the trap now it is really interesting so far you are coming to my school on monday morning and i want to ask you plenty questions im going to buy some books from you im so excited because your coming i just wanted to ask how did you come up with such brilliant ideas usually i give up cause i always cant come up with ideas all my stories are left unfisnished what do you think i should do from sarah xoxo

Hi Sarah

I find writing really hard sometimes too. I make myself write something, even on days when I really don’t feel like it, and on those days it’s really hard work but on other days I can hardly type fast enough to keep up with my ideas. I think you just have to keep at it. Usually when I start a book I pretty much know how it’s going to end, but I’m not sure about the whole journey to get from the begining to the end, and sometimes the end changes on the way (does that make sense?). I can’t always tell when I read back over it which bits came easily and which where like getting blood from a stone and sometimes what I write on the ‘blood from a stone’ days turns out to be the best bits. Keep going – I hope I get to read your books someday πŸ™‚

It’s the 1st of October, and I’ve had heaps more messages from pupils at Lurgan Junior High School:

cant wait to u come my school ljhs from Jackson

I’m looking forward to it!

when i looked at the trap i thought it was going to be boring but it was brilliant !!!! im from ljhs and comming to see you on monday the 5th october from Craig

It’s funny how books are sometimes much different from what you imagine from looking at the title or the cover – I’m glad you liked The Trap better than you thought you would!

When i looked at your books they looked really good and intresting =] . I am so sorry to here about ur rat =[ well i should see u on monday bye for now from Lisa

i have never read your books but i think they would be good. i am so sorry abut your rat from Josh

Yeah, it was sad when Gomer died – still he was a pretty old rat.

I am in the middle of an english homework and i was just wondering how you come up with such good ideas and descriptions of characters? From Amy

It’s hard sometimes coming up with ideas. I read lots and watch TV and movies, so sometimes I get ideas from that (or sometimes from true stories on the news).

Im from ljhs and your coming to us on monday i want to buy one of your books cant wait ! What one is your fave out of the two you wrote?

I don’t know which I like best out of those two – I like different things about each. I think my favourite book that I’ve written is one that hasn’t been published yet (but hopefully will be soon) called Blood and Snow.

Next week is the Children’s Books Ireland Festival, and I’ll be visiting ten different schools across Northern Ireland during the week. This message came on 30th September from Stefan

looking forward to seeing you on monday- by the way im an ljhs pupil. Ive got a good question for you on monday

Hi Stefan,

I think it’s great when school kids have questions ready for me – it’s more interesting answering questions than me just bletheing on! Is is a hard question, Stefan? Should I be worried?

I was at an event in England in June with three other writers and we were all asked lots of questions. The only one that stumped me was ‘What question do you hate to be asked?’ It’s kind of ironic that I couldn’t answer that one! The other writers gave good answers 

though, and I though, oh yeah, I should have said that, so I figure I’m ready for anything now!

Another message come in on 30th September, this one is from Louise

Hi I love the start of your book (Forbidden room) and I am going to buy it when you come to my school Lurgan Junior High School.

I think you have good taste in TV programs. I watch Bones Every Thursday night do you think booth and Bones are perfect for each other!

Hi Louise,

Bones and Booth really do balance each other out don’t they? They’re pretty sweet together too (and sometime really annoying!). We’re watching Bones on DVD and we’ve just started season four, so we haven’t caught up with the TV yet. We have to be careful when flicking channels in case we see bits of episodes that we haven’t seen yet and they give stuff away.

This message from Matthew arrived on 30th September

I have recently been reading the forbidden room it is brilliant!!!!

Hi Matthew

Wow, four exclaimation marks! Cool. I’m glad you’re liking it so far!

This message also arrived from Laura on 30th September (I’m pretty sure it’s a different Laura to the Laura below)

Hi i cant wait until you come to my school. I am about to read the forbidden room. Cant wait to see you!!!!

Hi Laura,

I’m really looking forward to all visiting all the school’s next week. It’ll be the most school visits I’ve ever done in a week so I hope I don’t lose my voice! I hope you like The Forbidden Room.

This message arrived from Laura on 30th September

Hi i loved the first page of the forbidden room (that is all i have read) hope to finish it love laura

Hi Laura!

I’m glad you liked the first page – I tried to make the first page exciting so people would want to read on. I hope you do read the rest and I hope you enjoy it!

Hi i really cant wait to meet you. i have a few questions for you when you come to Lurgan Junior High School on Monday. See you then love laura xx

I got this message on the 11th September from Blake

Hey i loved The Trap and was wondering if you were going to bring out anymore books of its kind. It was truely great, you worded it well.

your no.1 fan Blake

Thanks Blake! I’m so glad you liked The Trap – have you read The Forbidden Room? As to when I’ll be bringing out new books, I wish I knew! My publishers, Faber, dropped me after they published The Trap, and even though I’ve finished two books and started another since then, I still don’t have a publisher for any of them.

The books I’ve written since The Trap are:

Blood and Snow – a murder mystery set in Iceland about a girl who might have murdered someone, but all she can remember is a scene with blood spattering out over snow. A police pyschiatrist gets her to gradually remember things from her life until she finally remembers the murder and we find out what really happened.

Wild Thing – a book set partly in the 1980s and partly in the modern day and partly in England and partly in the African country Gabon. It’s again a mystery with attempted murder and bullying.

Ruby Dead – this is the book I’m working on at the moment. It’s about a girl called Ruby who’s dead. She had a baby boy just before she died and her ‘spirit’ is staying on earth and following him about. It’s a murder mystery again, and also one of the characters from my first book, Stephen Holland (from The Forbidden Room) is going to be in it so all the people who wanted to know what would happen to him after the end of that book will find out!

I have an agent (called Simon Trewin) who people seem to think is a really good agent, so I’m hoping he will find me a new publisher, although so far he hasn’t.

During the first week in October the Children’s Books Ireland festival will be taking place, and I’ll be visiting different schools around Northern Ireland all week. This message came on 7th Sept from Monica.

Looking forward to meeting you with our Year 9 Class in October at St Mary’s in Downpatrick

Hi Monica,

I love doing school visits, and I’m pretty excited about the Children’s Books Ireland festival – it’ll be the most school visits I’ve ever done in a week (ten different schools, I think!)

I’ll try to remember to say hello to you when I’m at St Mary’s in Downpatrick.

See you soon!

It’s 2nd September now (yeah, the kids are back at school!) and Michaela emailed to tell me her prize draw book (The Trap) arrived.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.


I’m so excited thanks so much im so happy.

now i can show my teacher and my other classmates!

my dad told me that i got a package and i looked and i ripped it open and i rushed to the computer to write this email.


Michaela (excited)



Cool, glad you got it Michaela!

Michaela sent another message on 2nd Sept

I have started reading. the prologue is really mysteryous.

Did u know that im a type 1 diabetic and have been for 1 year and 3 months. and i am on a pump (dont know if you’ve heard of it just type insulin pump into google and you’ll get an idea) that was my other birthday prezzie from my parents.



I didn’t know that Michaela! I know that I messed up some of the details about being diabetic in The Trap – I read loads about it, and my mum is diabetic (type two) but I still managed to get some things wrong. A girl called Heather wrote to me because she is a diabetic too and she was pretty annoyed at me for the things I got wrong (you can scroll down and read her message.) I apologised and she was pretty cool about it though. I hope my mistakes don’t annoy you too much.

I emailed Michaela to tell her she’d won the free book, and she sent me her address (in Australia!) as well as a couple more messages. (25th August)Thank you so much my friend Sam says hi just wondering wat time is it ova there?

It’s morning here – what’s the time difference with Australia? You’re way ahead of us, aren’t you. Hold on, I’ll check on google……Okay, Melbourne is ten hours ahead of GMT, so if it’s twenty past eleven am here, it must be twenty past nine at night there? Cool.How do you get ideas for you books?

I find coming up with good ideas really difficult – everything good has already been done! Sometimes I get ideas from stories on the news (real life is often stranger than fiction) or from other books I read or movies I watch (see what I wrote to answer Alex’s question below.)


Finished the book – fantastic. Our group gave the talk on you. Chapter 15 was my favourite. Epilogue was funny. LOL



I’m glad you liked the book. I had to rush off and find a copy to see what happened in chapter 15 – I like that bit too. My favourite bit is just before that when the bus driver holds up Mandy’s diary and suddenly everyone knows that Jenny knows what’s going on and you’re thinking (hopefully) oh no what’s going to happen next!

This message arrived on 25th August from JosephineHey I am Joey.Isn’t it weird having a snake as a pet. Has it ever bit you?I am allergic to rats because they are gross.Your books are really good and I love The trap!

Hi Joey,

Fluffy the snake has never bitten me, although he did lash out at my son Christy one day. His teeth are really tiny though, so his bite didn’t even leave a mark, but still both me and Christy are a bit scared of him now. I can pick him up if I wear rubber gloves though, because his mouth is so small you wouldn’t feel it though the gloves if he did bite.

Becca’s rats are lovely (or rat now, since one died) One of them had an ear infection, and I had to take him to the vet every day for a week and during that time I got really attached to him – he would climb up onto my shoulder and kiss my ear. He was very kissy – he never bit. The other rat was a bit of a bully, and used to fight nice rat but then nice rat died 😦 Bully rat has got nicer now though – I think he misses nice rat and is more chilled now that he’s quite an elderly rodent.)

I’m glad you like my books – I’d love to visit Australia – you should tell everyone to buy my books and then if they get popular enough in Australia maybe I’ll get to come over and do a book signing tour! (Michaela sent me her address because she won the free book draw and she’s in Australia. I’m assuming you’re from the same school – maybe you’re not and you’re wondering why I’m going on about Australia?)

Wow, lots of messages today (25th August). This one’s from Alex

hey i’m alex and i’m at skool with micheala and this week we hav to make a speech about a specific part of ur profile(author’s profile from last week) and i hav to do ur inspirations and i no you just answered it but like why were they your inspirations and how did they help you with your writing(sorry to be a pain) btw the book;s really good)

Boy – you girls are making me work hard. Well, I love to read, I probably read on average two new books a week, and have done pretty much all my life, so lots of writers influence me. There are some, like the ones I already mentioned (Madeleine L’Engle and C.S. Lewis) and others Like Phillip Pullman, or Markus Zusak or Eoin Colfer who I aspire to be as good as one day, then there are others (some that I enjoyed reading, and other that I didn’t so much) that made me think I could write as well as them and inspired me to give it a go. I try not to write in the style of anyone else, or copy plots, but quite often small things in books I read like something a character says or a situation will spark my imagination and I’ll start there but go off on a tangent and end up with a totally different plot. (Markus Zusak’s books, The Book Thief and I Am The Messenger were so good they almost made me want to give up because I could never write as well as that.)

Michaela sent me this message on 19th August

Hello in school for lit circles we are reading your book the forbidden room and for homework we have to do an author profile on you and i was wanting to ask a question.

Who was your inspiration?


Hi Michaela,

Thanks for your message.

I hope you enjoy The Forbidden Room. As to your question, who was my inspiration – hmmm… I have loved so many books by so many authors in my life that it’s really hard to pick one – maybe the American writer, Madeleine L’Engle inspired me, especially her book ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ I read that book so many times when I was a teenager, and still do from time to time. Also CS Lewis – the Narnia books as well as the adult fantasy books that he wrote. Those are writers that I aspire to be as good as, although in a way it was books that I didn’t think were so good that inspired me to write my own – when my kids were little and I used to read to them at bedtime, sometimes I wondered how the books I was reading them ever got published and I thought ‘I could write better than this’ so in a sense those books inspired me to write (I’ll not say which books I thought were bad because the people who wrote them might read this and be upset (or come after me!)

Isnt it ironic the girls in 6 Red are reading a ‘wrinkle in time’ and they all love it. Thanks for that. My friend was on your website and saw my comment and she’s like omg that girl is reading ‘the forbidden room to isnt that strange’ then she looked at the name and it was moi.

That is funny – whoever it is who chooses the books for you lit circles obviously has good taste! Can I ask where you’re from? ‘Cause the schools here in the UK are not back from the summer holidays until next week (at least most of them) so I’m guessing you’re from somewhere exotic – Australia or New Zealand maybe? I get excited when I get messages from people far away!

This message from Jodie arrived on the 23rd June

Hi Sarah,

I am writing to tell you that I have read ‘The Curious Incident of the dog in the night time’ It is a brilliant book because I can relate to it as I have Aspergers. I think your newest book, ‘The Trap is brilliant’ because the introduction is so gripping!

Thank you,


Hi Jodie,

I’ve read ‘The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nightime’ as well. I really enjoyed it and it was of interest to me as well because one of my nephews has Aspergers. I’m glad you liked ‘The Trap’. I tried to make the begining very exciting because I think people might flick through the first couple of pages in a book shop, and if they think it’s exciting they might be more likely to buy it! Also, when I send my manuscript to publishers, I think if they’re not gripped by the first couple of pages, they might not bother to read any more.

PS Jodie, I tried to send you an email thanking you for your message, but it bounced back – could you have typed in your email address wrongly?

I took a writing workshop in Antrim Library on 10th June, and this message from one of the young people at the workshop arrived a couple of days later.

hi sarah its me shannon from the creative writing class in antrim I just wanted to say if u never get blood and snow published mail me the manuscript.

Hi Shannon, It was nice to meet you again (Shannon was at a school visit I did earlier this year as well). At the workshop someone asked me if I would consider self publishing (sometimes called vanity press) which means paying a company to print books from my manuscript. It’s tempting because I’d really like to have something to show all the people who ask me when the next book is coming out. I’d really love people to be able to read it because I am quite proud of how it turned out. I still think it would be better to wait for a while at least and hope that a ‘proper’ publisher takes it on instead. Hopefully they will, and then everyone would be able to read it and I wouldn’t have to pay! If nothing happens for a while thought, I’ll have to think about other options. I’ll keep your address, Shannon, so you never know.

A new message from Fong arrived on 8th June. My email program tried to translate some bits from Korean, so I’m guessing that Fong is Korean – how cool is that?

Welcome, would you write more stories for teenagers? It would be great if you do! I like reading books so much!

Hi Fong,

I would like to keep writing for teenagers for a long time, although I’d like to write for adults sometime as well. I have two finished teen books, and I’ve started another, but I’m having trouble finding a publisher for them. I think I need to wait until the economy gets better and publishers have enough money to take on new people. I really hope that happens soon!

Oh, Fong replied:

thx, I am from Hong Kong! haha

I’m very excited to have a fan in Hong Kong! I wonder why my email thought it was Korean?? I can add Hong Kong to Australia and South Africa and the UK- is anyone out there from anywhere else?

There seems to be a problem with messages coming into my website – I just got some that were sent weeks ago. If you have sent a message and haven’t had a response, sorry! I’m trying to deal with the backlog, and I’m looking out for any more messages that might arrive late.

This message came in from my old friend Rubii on 6th June

Oleriite Sarah?

Long Tiime No Speak..

Lol u memeber me ?

What Book you wriitin atm ? x

iim stiil wriitin Sky .. But i seem to have a writers block Lol ,, i just cbb writin atm.

Wow a cornsnake how cooll πŸ˜€

anyways wb xxx iin abit ly xx

Rubii! So nice to hear from you again!

I’m very well – all better from my gallbladder surgery, thanks. I hope you’re well too. I am writing a new book and guess what? The title is inspired by your cool name. It’s called ‘Ruby Dead’ and it’s about a girl called Ruby who’s dead! She had a baby just before she died, so she’s kind of following him about to make sure he’s okay. It’s also about the family who foster the baby and their daughter Megan and how Ruby helps Megan with her life too.

I know what you mean about writers block. Ruby Dead is going VERY slowly. I’m finding it hard to be disciplined since I still don’t have a new publisher.

Fluffy the corn snake is pretty cool – when I’m brave enough to hold him, he wraps his tail around my wrist really tight and slithers about my hands with the rest of him.

I’m taking a writing workshop in Antrim library tomorrow, and later this month I’m going to Preston for the Lancashire Children’s Book of the Year Award – The Trap came third! So I’m looking forward to that.

Have a great summer, Rubii, and try and keep writing even when you don’t feel like it (and I will too!)

This message was sent in April, but I didn’t get it until the begining of June! Obviously the website contact form has some problems!

hi my name is emma steenson,

i am in first year in bangor academey in bangor . our english teacher told us about you today and gave us ur web site to look up if we want. we also were told you are coming to vist us. we read the first chapter of the trap which was really good and i wanted to read more. i saw on this that you come and bring books so i might buy the trap i am quite excited about you coming,see you soon ! xxxx emz

Hi Emma!

I’m so sorry not to have responded to your message sooner but I only just got it! And so sorry your school visit was cancelled because I was sick when I was supposed to do it 😦 Your teacher is going to rearrange it in September, so I hope your year group still get to come to it.

Fong sent this message on 29th May (although I didn’t get it until June!)

Yesterday I went to the book shop and found the book ‘THE TRAP’ and of course I found it interesting and adventourous!

Thanks Fong! Can I ask where you live? From an email you can’t tell if a person is just down the road or the other side of the world. I’d be interested to know where everyone comes from – it would be pretty exciting for me to get messages from people who have read my books from other countries!

Hanna sent this message on 17th May

love your books btw when is the next one coming out?

its on my must have list!


Hi Hanna,

I don’t know when my next book is coming out. My agent is looking for a new publisher for me, and until today I hadn’t heard from him in ages. I wrote last week asking him if I should give up all hope. He wrote back today, and said that although things are tough with the credit crunch and all (stupid credit crunch) that he still has lots of irons in the fire, and I should keep everything crossed. He also asked me to send him my manuscript and synopsis (which is just a page describing what the book’s about) for the new book Blood and Snow, because he was away from the his normal computer. I read over the synopsis before I sent it and remembered how much I love Blood and Snow. I guess that sounds a bit arrogant, but I’m the most pleased with Blood and Snow out of everything I’ve written, so I really really hope my agent finds a publisher so it can make it to the shops soon. I hope people like you still want to read it when it eventually makes it (see, I’m being optomistic and saying ‘when’ and not ‘if’ it makes it!).

P.S.I’ve entered you into the next free draw, Hanna, which will happen at the end of July.

Hanna sent this message on 7th April


i finally bought the forbidden room and i started reading it in the morning on the 7th. i finished reading it about a minute ago. (6:30 that same day) i loved reading it and i wish you had more books. i hope to be a good writer like u someday and maybe (thats a big big maybe) someone like me – a 14 yr old kid who is slightly weird and a bit of a nerd – will write to me like this and i will be their inspriation like u are mine.


This is the reply I sent her:

Hi Hanna,

Thanks for your email. I just got home from spending a week in hospital with stomach pains, and I have to go back in two weeks to get my gall bladder removed, so your email really cheered me up. I’m a slightly weird nerdy type too and writing is the perfect profession for people like us! I’m not sure when I’ll get around to putting your message onto the website, but it should be in the next couple of days.

Hanna replied:

Dear Sarah.

i hope you feel better soon and good luck on the operation. im still thinking about the book. will you make a sequel? i would love that because then we could really find out what happened next!

Well, I’ve finally got around to putting these messages on the website – I’m feeling a little stronger today and less muzzy-headed. Lots of people ask me about a sequel to The Forbidden Room, and although I’ll probably not write a full blown sequel, I had the idea to have Stephen Holland appear in a new book as a teenager, and he could tell us a little bit more about what happened after the end of The Forbidden Room. I’ve started writing this book – it’s kind of a ghost story, but Stephen will appear in it (alive). The writing is going pretty slowly at the moment though, what with one thing and another, but hopefully when I’m feeling better I’ll pick up the pace. I still have to find a new publisher, and I’ve got two finished books to get out there in the mean time, but if you’re patient, you will eventually get your answers!

There haven’t been many messages for a while, but this one came in on 21st March from Skye:

I was at your talk in strathern. I bought both your books!! They’re brilliant!! I read the forbidden room first, I loved it. I didn’t expect the ending. You should write a follow on to it? I read it in 4 days.

I loved the trap as well. You’re realy good at making up unexpected endings!

Please write more fantastic books. You’re my fav author.

Hi Skye,

Thanks – wow, that’s pretty cool to be someone’s favourite author! Lots of people have asked me if I’m going to write a sequal to The Forbidden Room. I wanted to leave some things as loose ends, so that people could make up their own minds, but I know that a lot of people find that annoying and want to know what happened next. I’ve just started writing a new book, which is partly told from the point of view of a girl who’s just died, and partly from the point of view of another girl. I’m thinking that the live girl (Megan) will make friends with Stephen Holland, now a teenager, and although the book won’t really be about him, at least he could answer some of the questions that were left hanging at the end of The Forbidden Room. I don’t know if or when this new book will be published though, since I have two finished books that don’t have a publisher yet, so you could have a long wait to see what became of the Hollands – sorry!

I got three messages from Hanna on 28th Feb

hey Sarah, I live in Australia, do u know where I might be able 2 buy the Forbidden room?

hanna xxx

hey sarah! its hanna again!

I have just read the spooky story written by Eleanor and i loved it! she is very talented and i did not expect the ending!

i loved the describing words, it felt like i was actually in the spooky mansion!

hanna xxx

hey sarah!

I’ve got a spur of the moment question for you…

if someone came up to you and asked what your fav book was, what would be the first thing that would pop into your head? like, it might have nothing to do with the question…but whats the first thing you think when someones asks you it?

hanna xxx

Hi Hanna!

It’s so cool getting messages from someone in Australia – how did you come across my website?

I’m not too sure which bookshops in Australia carry my books. I do know that they have them in some libraries in Australia, and there are online bookshops that have them too (,,, Hope that helps.

I’ve entered you in the free draw, which will take place at the end of March, so you never know…

I loved Eleanor’s story too – I’ll put your comment after it on the ‘your writing’ page.

I’m no good at those ‘what’s the first thing that comes into your head’ things. The first thing that comes into my head is always something really random and stupid like cabbage! I just finished reading a book called ‘Saving fish from drowning’ by Amy Tan which I really enjoyed. Its narrator is someone who has just died, which is pretty cool because I’m thinking of writing a book from the point of view of someone who has just died. I really like a book called ‘Good Omens’ by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and I love ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ by Madeline L’Engle. There are so many books that I’ve loved at different times in my life that it’s hard to pick one.

hey sarah,

in answer to ur question, i came across ur website after i read ur second book ‘the trap’ i found the book in a bookstore and just decided to buy it, after reading it i loved ur writing so much i just typed into google ur name and ur website came up!

thanks also 4 the websites 2 where i could find ur book, i think i might buy it from booktopia!


On 24th February I did a school visit for a very nice P7 class in Hazelwood Primary School in Belfast. One of the girls in the class, Darcy sent me this message on 26th Feb:

Hi sarah wray, its Darcy from hazelwood. You know the way you told us all your fave books? Here are three of mine: WolfBrother, Midnight for CharlieBone and Skulduggery Pleasant:!!!!!!

Hi Darcy! I loved Skulduggery Pleasant too. I haven’t read the other books though. If lots of people tell me their favourite books, maybe I’ll start a new page of the website for them all?

PS Darcy – I tried to send you a reply to the email address you sent me but it bounced back – maybe you typed it in wrong?

Natasha and Abbie both sent messages on 15th February

>Hi Sarah,

In my last message I mentioned that I had finished the forbidden room and that i was going to read your second book the trap. I was just wondering where you can buy your book. My mum and i aren’t very fond of ordering items of the internet after my mum was purchasing a pair of ugg boots of ebay. The person that was selling them took the money of my mum and said that he wasn’t going to give us the boots a week later. About 6 months after we received a letter saying that the ugg boots were ready for collection in our local post office. Even though we got the uggs in the end my mum is still quite wary of purchasing of the internet and hasn’t done so since. please reply as I am desperate to read it!!!!!!!


Hi again Abbie!I just checked the stock levels at Waterstones on their website, and they say they have The Trap in stock in Belfast and Lisburn (they’re not always up to date, but I think they should have it). I’m not sure about the other bookshops in the area. It’s sounds like your mum had a bad time on ebay – my husband buys and sells things on ebay all the time and so far we’ve been pretty lucky – everything has gone okay, although my sister got put off buying from the internet after a bad ebay experience too. I think Amazon or the other online bookshops are pretty reliable though, if you can’t find it in town. Good luck!

Hi Sarah,

I have recently finished the Forbidden Room and I especially enjoyed it. You have, in a way, inspired me to continue writing. I have a few questions –

1) How long would you say a chapter should roughly last? In the novel I’m writing at the minute, they vary from 6 to 12.

2) How would you get a book published? Is it easily done or do they rarely publish books by new authors?

3) What inspires you most when writing?

The thing I love about writing is that when I’m writing a story, I can see it like a film in my head.

Thank you for writing such enjoyable books and I look forward to reading more.


Hi Natasha,

1)I think chapters varying from 6-12 pages sounds about right, although I guess that depends on how many words are on a page! When I’m writing I use 12 point font with double spaced lines and that comes to about 300 words a page, and my chapter lengths are usually between ten and twenty pages, I think.

2)I have heard of one or two people who got their first books published fairly easily but it’s much more normal, I’m afraid to spend a long time being rejected before you find a publisher who will take you on. So many people send manuscripts every week to publishers that lots of them get sent back without even being read. I guess maybe you need to have something about you that stands out that you could put into a letter that you send with your manuscript, or concentrate on the first pages of your book being really good, in case that’s all that’s read.

3)Lots of things inspire me. I read a lot, all kinds of different types of books, and that inspires me, as well as watching movies or tv programs, or even sometimes hearing people speak in an interesting or poetic way.

I know exactly what you mean about seeing a story you’re writing like a movie in your head – I think it helps to daydream about the characters in a book, to make them seem more real and for them to take on a life of their own.

This message from Emma came in on the 14th February

You where great at Strathern school. I love your book. The picture of u, me and my friend was on the front page of the school newspaper. I am writing a book it is called “love and Blood”.

Hi Emma!

Thanks – I had a good time at your school. I hate photos of me, in my head I’m much younger and thinner looking! Love and Blood sounds exciting. If you’re brave enough, why not send in a bit of it and I’ll put it on the ‘your writing’ page?

Abbie wrote to me on 12th February

Hi Sarah,

Its Abbie again(from Strathearn school)

I finished your book about one and a half weeks ago and all I can say is WOW!! I couldn’t put the book down. In fact I even got some eye strain!! My brother started reading it and that’s all he can talk about. Even my mum seems interested in reading it. Every time I go to talk about it at dinner or in the car she tells me to be quiet because she doesn’t want me to ruin the book for her. On one school night I can remember reading until 2 o’clock in the morning!

To be fully honest with you I wasn’t really interested in reading books. I first heard of the forbidden room when my english teacher Miss Ferris (Joanne Ferris) metioned it during class. I was very fussy with what books i read. I have to like it 100% and be fully interested in it before I complete. my two favourite books are The phantom Tollbooth and The secret of Epsilon. You’ve truly inspired me in reading and writing books. Thank you so much. i’m looking forward to buying and reading the trap. it sounds so good.I was just wondering what is your absolute favourite book if you HAD to choose??!!

Please reply!!


Hi Abbie!

I love it when books have me so gripped that I can’t stop reading them even late at night. It’s so exciting for me to think that my book had that effect on you – wow! I really like The Phantom Tollbooth too. I haven’t read the other book you mentioned, The Secret of Epsilon – maybe I’ll look for it. It’s really hard to think of one book that’s my favourite, because there are so many books that I love, and it kind of depend on my mood what I like most at any time. I love The Wish List, by Eoin Colfer, and I love The Madeline L’Engle Book called ‘A Wrinkle in Time’. I remember loving the Anne of Green Gables books when I read them, but I haven’t read them in ages. I used to read the Narnia Chronicles over and over but I haven’t read them in ages either. Philip Reeves Mortal Engines series is really good too. See what I mean – I can’t chose one book, I could go on and on remembering more books that I love. My daughter (who’s almost fifteen) really likes the Stephanie Meyer books and also the Mallory Blackman books, but I haven’t read those yet.

This message arrived on 11th February

Hi my name is Pebbles and one day I would hope to be a writer like you . At school we had to choose a book from to read and review , I chose your book ‘The forbidden room ‘ ( It was great !!!! ) Anyway I have to write about you and give a speech about you . I was wondering if you could give some answers to these questions because I can not seem to find them anywhere.

1. What inspired you to start writing ?

2. Where do you get your ideas from ?

3. Any unusual facts about you that you would tell me ?

Thankyou so much and please reply !!!

It would really help me !



Hi Pebbles,

I’m glad you liked The Forbidden Room, and I’m honoured that you chose me to do your speech about! You might find some answers on the page on the website called ‘The I Wonder Years’, but I’ll try to answer them here for you anyway.

1. I’ve always loved reading and my books are very precious to me. When I was at school I used to keep a diary and also write short stories, but I kind of forgot about all that when I went to University and studied Genetics. I worked as a science teacher after I got married but I stopped work when I had my first child. I had three babies in three years and one time I got angry with my husband because he was ignoring me and the babies to watch football, so I said (just out of the blue, I hadn’t been planning it or anything) that I was going to ignore him and go and write a book! I realised very quickly that writing was what I loved doing most in the world, so I kept on writing even though it took me seven years to get my first book published!

2. I get ideas from lots of places – I might really like a character in a book I’m reading, and borrow things about them to put in to one of my characters, or bits of plot from books I’ve read or movies I’ve watched. Just watching the news gives me ideas, because of the strange and sometimes terrible things people do in real life and it make me wonder why these things happened and what’s the story behind them and then I start imagining things and sometimes it turns into the plot for a book. For The Forbidden Room the idea came to me after watching a news story about a couple who’s little boy was dying of a genetic disease and they wanted to have a baby using IVF and to select the embryo so that it would be the right blood type that they could take stem cells to treat their little boy. I don’t know what happened to that family, but they gave me the idea of what would happen if a family took something like that into their own hands.

3. Oh, I don’t know… I grew up in England (in Formby in Merseyside) and spent a year in America when I was a teenager, and now I live in Belfast where I’ve picked up the accent, although I still say some words ‘funny’ (ie the English way). I love animals and I wanted to be a vet when I was little, but I didn’t do well enough in my A levels. My favourite author is probably Terry Pratchett, although I have lots of favourites really. My daughter just got her nose pierced (eek!) -it’s easier writing about teenagers than being a parent to them!

I hope that helps, Pebbles (great name!) and I hope your speech goes well.

My new books arrived so I was able to do the January draw (just a few days late) and the winner was…Carol Thompson from South Africa! Congratulations Carol. The next draw will take place on 31st March – good luck everyone!

Eve sent me a message on 5th Feb

Hi. This isn’t a question its more a good comment. My sister got me the book ‘The Trap’ when you went to her school. Its a brilliant book i just love it! i could read it over and over again !! One of my favourite authors!! I’m planning to read ‘The Forbidden Room’ next!! πŸ™‚ Brilliant books I LOVE THEM !! xxx

Thanks Eve! I’m glad you liked The Trap, and I hope you like The Forbidden Room too. (Sometimes sisters can be pretty cool!)

I don’t know if you remember back in October I got an email from Neal James, whose new book A Ticket to Tewkesbury had just been published. Here’s a link to Neal’s book on Amazon:

A ticket to Tewkesbury, Amazon link
and here’s a link to Neal’s blog

Neal’s Blog

Well, Neal just emailed me to tell me that he will be signing copies of his book on March 7th at Lichfield Library

Way to go Neal! I hope lots of people turn up!

I’m not too sure where Lichfield is, but if anyone reading lives nearby, why not show up and tell Neal that you read about him on Sarah Wray’s website!

(At a recent book signing of mine in Lisburn, apart from my friends and family, only one random person showed up to buy a signed book! One day (in my dreams) people will queue for hours to get me to sign their books…)

This email from Abbie arrived on 30th January.

I am a pupil from Strathearn.(one of your recent school visits) I bought one of your books the forbidden room. As soon as I got it started reading it. It is a great book, in fact it is one of my favourites. My passion is to become an author but I’m not very good at creating story lines. I was wondering if you could give me some tips on creating a story line and also what inspired you to become a writer?

Hi Abbie,

I had a great time at your school, and I’m really glad you are liking The Forbidden Room so far. I’ve entered you into the free draw, but it will have to be delayed for a few days since I sold all my copies of The Trap at your school, so I’ll have to phone up my publishers on Monday and order some more.

I also find it really hard to come up with good story lines – I think that’s the hardest part of writing for me, once I’ve got a good story the books almost write themselves! I sometimes get bits of ideas from other books I’ve read, or movies I’ve watched, or even from things I hear about on the news. I try to write down any wee bits of ideas, and then if they start swimming around in my head, and taking on more substance, I might try and plan out a whole novel around them, and if not, I’ll leave them for a while, and then maybe read over old ideas when I’m stuck again, and see if they come to life then.

I think what inspired me to become a writer was the way I love to read so much, and the way I daydream a lot and tell myself stories in my head, and then when I started to write them down I enjoyed it so much that I never wanted to stop!

Bethan sent these two emails on 23rd January

I go to Hazelwood primary, we are reading The Forbidden Room and I love it!!! πŸ™‚ We are only half way through but it is the best half of a book I have ever read!FromBethan Rose WattI LOVE QI:) πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Hi Bethan,

Thanks! I’m looking forward to coming back to your school to talk to you all and answer your questions when you’ve finished reading The Forbidden Room. I hope you like the second half as much as the first!

PS I love QI too!

This message from Dean Bartlett came in on 21st JanuaryHello SarahI have now read both “The Forbidden Room” and “The Trap”. I must say I thought that both of them were fantastic they totally gripped me and I could not put them down. They both kept me awake until 12.30am. I must say that I read a lot of fiction novels however it is very rare for me to get that hooked. I read “The Trap” first as I found it in my local Waterstones in Gloucester and I finished the novel in two weeks that was mid October and after finishing this I was still wanting to read more of your novels and I found out about “The Forbidden Room” however I could not find this book anywhere until I went to Edinburgh and found it there and read half of the novel on the train coming home. I just want to take this time to thank you for two fantastic novels and I can not wait for you next one, If you could tell me when this will be coming out this will be greatly appreciated.

Hi Dean,

Thank you! I’m glad you liked both books, and I’m so happy you wrote to tell me. It’s frustrating that both my books are hard to find, especially The Forbidden Room. I guess I’m just not famous enough for much money to be spent on promoting my books and I have to rely on word of mouth – so tell your friends you liked them! (You can always get them from the internet – Amazon at least pretty much always has them both in stock.) I have finished two new books, but so far my publisher, Faber hasn’t told me if or when they are going to publish them, and it takes about a year from they start work on them until they get to the shops, so it won’t be for a while. I get so frustrated at how slow it all is that I wonder what’s the point, and then I get nice emails like yours and I think that as long as I love writing, and as long as at least some people out there love reading my books, then I’ll keep going, and just hope that a publisher gets excited enough by me to start selling my books more. (Or if I had enough money, maybe I would self publish, but sadly I don’t.) As soon as I get word that one or both of my books has a release date, I’ll post it on the website, so keep checking!

Heather sent this message on 18th JanHi,Having read and enjoyed The Forbidden Room, I bought The Trap with high hopes. However, I am an insulin dependent diabetic and some things about diabetes in your book are poorly researched.1. You say that eating sweets can kill you if you are diabetic. This is only true in a complete and utter extreme and it would be a very slow and complicated death. As a young person, people are always saying to me “Can you eat this?” and it gets on my nerves. The truth is, diabetics can eat whatever they want, as long as they have the correct insulin and control. I eat sweets often and I am not dead.2. When Luke goes to America from England, there is no mention of the difficulties diabetics face when they travel through time zones, and how it upsets their insulin. It is a real pain and any diabetic who has travelled to a different time zone would be able to tell you.3. Luke also does his insulin after meals. This is a big mistake. Diabetics should have their insulin about twenty minutes before eating so that it has time to get into the blood stream and start working on the food, as soon as it gets there. Everyone who I know who is a diabetic, has had this drummed into them by doctors and nurses at their diabetic clinics.4. When Luke is lost in the cave he says, “What would kill me first? Thirst or hypoglycaemia?” The truth is, hypos will only kill you in rare circumstances, if you overdose on inusulin. Luke hasn’t had any insulin so he will not go hypo. He will go hyper if he is there long enough, but a hypo is the least of his worries.Apart from that, I liked the twist at the end and otherwise enjoyed the book.But I wanted to write to you because anyone reading it, will get the wrong idea about diabetes and I will have to answer more unnecessary questions from people who are poorly informed.From Heather, aged 14.

Hi Heather.

I’m glad you like The Forbidden Room, and some things about The Trap!

My mum has late onset diabetes, and her dad had it too, so the chances are I’ll get it as well eventually, so my ignorance will one day come back and bite me on the bum if that’s any consolation!

I did try to do loads of research into the condition, to make Luke’s experience as authentic as possible – I read lots of internet medical sites as well as forums and people’s blogs, but obviously I messed up once or twice (the thing about taking insulin before meals rather than after has been pointed out to me by my GP friend as well. I don’t how I managed to get that the wrong way around and I can only apologise. I think I read it somewhere on the internet, which only goes to show that you can’t believe everything you read.)

I think that when Luke was in the cave he was in such a stressed state that he wasn’t necessarily thinking straight, although I thought you could go hypo if you go for a long time without eating, even if you haven’t had insulin – is that not right?

I really enjoyed writing the bit where Luke slips into delirium so I hope it wasn’t all total rubbish!

The last thing I wanted was to annoy any actual diabetics out there so I really am truly sorry, Heather.

I’ve written two books since The Trap, (I don’t have publication dates yet for either of them, but hopefully they will be out sometime in the not too distant future) and neither of them has any diabetic characters, so hopefully you will like them!

SarahHi,Thanks for your reply to my email I wrote to you about Luke, the diabetic in The Trap. I wasn’t sure you would write back; there was not much you could say to what I had written!I hope I didn’t offend you by writing to you like that, but diabetes is just a bit of a touchy subject for me, because people so often assume things about it that aren’t true. Thanks again for your reply, and for apologising.I’m looking forward to your new books, and I hope you have fun daydreaming about Johnny Depp!From Heather

This message came from Hanna on 10th JanuaryI have been trying to free draw the cover of “the trap” I am finding it difficult, but I still love the book, it is haunting and it made me paranoid that someone will try and kill me, but I’m over that and now its just a laugh!!!

Hi Hanna,

I love drawing. They don’t let me design the covers for my books, and it’s always a little bit scary waiting to see what they’ll come up with (the publishers still get to use a design even if I don’t like it) so far though, I’ve been very happy with the covers so maybe I shouldn’t worry. I’m glad you liked The Trap, and that you’re not too traumatised by it – I’d hate to think that my books actually gave people nightmares or something -they’re not that scary, are they?

Eleanor sent another message, and a story for the ‘Your Writing’ page on 5th JanHi again! I finished the Trap last night- the ending was so good and totally unexpected! Thanks for writing such a great book!

Thanks Eleanor. (I removed the middle bit from your email because it would give away the ending to people who haven’t read it yet). I think your story is really good. Very atmospheric and descriptive – I felt like I was really lost in the spooky forest or the creaky old house – and the ending made me gasp out loud.

I got this message today (3rd Jan) from Eleanorhi!I emailed you before Christmas, saying that I loved the forbidden room and that the trap was on my Christmas list. Well, I did get it and I am really enjoying it, and I expect that it will get lots better as I have only read the first chapter! I hope that you keep on writing because I love your books! I don’t know why your earlier books didn’t get published!EleanorPS: Your dog, Roxie, is so adorable!!! My cousins have just got a puppy and she too is called Roxy, but with a “y”!

Hi Eleanor! Thanks for the email – I hope you like The Trap. My old books probably weren’t good enough to be published – I think like anything, my writing gets better with practise. I’ve got two finished books now with the publishers and I’m waiting to hear from them if and when they’re going to get published. I really hope they do. I can’t wait to see them in print and to see what people who liked my other books think of them.

Roxie is lovely – she’s really good natured and fun-loving and affectionate. I think everyone should have a dog just like her – Cavvies are the best!

Rubii emailed me a few times in December and sent me the start of the book she’s writing, and I thought it would be a good idea to make a new page and put Rubii’s writing (and anyone else’s that send it in) onto it. I was sick with ‘flu, and then busy being Christmassy, so I’m only just getting around to it now. But here it is:Your Writing

Tahli Evans emailed me on the 1st JanHey, I just finished reading The Trap and it was incredible! I was wondering if there was going to be a sequel?

Hi Tahli. I’m glad you liked The Trap. So far I have only written stand alone books and don’t have plans for any sequels. I do have two more finished books with the publishers which will hopefully be out before too long though. If I could come up with a good idea for a series I would try that because series sell well. I did have one idea – for a series about teenagers with hybrid human animal DNA which gave them special powers, but my publishers said it had been done before (yeah, but…. everythings been done before, hasn’t it?)

This message came in from Nicky Sebastian on 18th December:Well done for getting your book the trap mentioned in the best books for kids in the Independant on Sunday.I went off to buy it for my grandson,went to at least 20 book shops,Norwich,London,Isle of wight {pre Xmas family visit} no one had it .eventually,happy days found it in Wimbledon and it’d now on route to Norwich.Should have looked in N Ireland,I live on Rathlin Island!Tell your publisher off from me! Happy Christmas

Thanks Nicky – I’m impressed with your dedication to try so many bookshops. I passed your email on to my publishers – haven’t had any reply from them though!

The winner of the November draw was Jade Danielle Arnott – Congratulations Jade! If you entered this time and didn’t win, you can always enter again for the next draw.

Jasmine sent this message a few hours after I announced the winner of the November draw:HiI’m a bit annoyed I didn’t win the prize draw, because I REALLY WANT A COPY but I suppose not everyone could win so I’m entering the next PRIZE DRAW.I’ve just read The Knife of Never Letting Go and it is pure violent, but surprisingly I like it!! My book club is not going too well at the moment as our numbers are dropping but I’m still going!Just read the Narnia books; pure genius!!Got 12 books on my xmas list so hopefully i will have something to read! But I cant wait until then… any book suggestions??Jasmine x

Sorry Jasmine! I haven’t read The Knife of never letting go, but I think my son might like it if it’s violent – he judges books on the gore level! I just read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which I liked, but then I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I like the Philip Reeve books in the Mortal Engines series too – I’ve been reading them to my son and we’re two books in. At the moment I’m reading Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris – it’s an adult book, the sequel to Chocolat which I loved (and I loved the movie that had Johnny Depp in it!). I’ve only just started it, but I’m loving it so far. There’s another book that I read ages ago called Inkheart that they’ve made a movie of – it was good too.

This message from Tanja came in on 24th NovemberSorry One more question! ; )Where do you get such interesting ideas for your stories? I try to write some stories but after I read through them they just sounds kinda lame : ( By the way, what about visiting some schools in N. Ireland? ; )Tanjaxxxxx(i have to stop typing now my hand really hurts ; )

Hi Tanja!

(Did you injure your hand, or have you just been typing so much that you had to stop?)

I find it really difficult to come up with good ideas for the plots for my books – sometimes it takes months between finishing one book and finding an idea that I’m happy enough with to start another. Sometimes I’ll take something out of a book I’ve read – not to write the same story, but maybe some wee part of it, and put it into my own story. Or sometimes news stories are really freaky, and it’s so amazing that something like that could actually happen that it almost seems like something out of a book, and that can give me inspiration. Quite often though, when I’m reading through something I’ve written, I think it’s pretty lame, even the things that have been published – it’s hard to be objective about your own work – maybe your stories are better than you think?

You asked about school visits in Northern Ireland – do you live in Northern Ireland Tanja? We could be neighbours! I have done quite a lot of school visits here, if you want me to come to your school, you would have to ask either an English teacher or a librarian to contact me to organise it, and then I would be happy to.

These messages came in from Tanja and Briony on 23rd NovemberHey SarahI have read both of your fantastic books everytime i read one of them it just takes me inside the story, i can read your book none stop its just so interesting anyway thank you and i hope you will write more books soon. ; )TanjaI am such a BIG fan of Sarah Wray i have read both books i luuuurrrved them and i am only 11 years old PLEASE KEEP WRITING MORE BOOKS!!!!!!I have never been such a big fan of an author before I really want to meet you one day!!! but I do understand you are a very busy woman.Lots and lots of hugs Brionyxxx

Hi Tanja and Briony,

I love going on school visits and other events where I can meet people who’ve read my books, but because I live in Northern Ireland it’s hard for me to travel around mainland UK or anywhere else since I don’t really have enough money to pay for air fares or hotels and stuff. If a school wanted to book me, they could try contacting my publisher, Faber and Faber and they might pay my travel over (if we’re lucky!)

I got a new message from Ruby on 20th NovemberHeyaii Sarah,,,It’s me again if you remember me! lol ii hope you are ok and that your writing is going well??? ii haven’t spoke to you in a while so i thought i would get in touch!ii have started to wriite my own book! It’s about a girl called Sky and her mum and dad make her move to New York and she hates it she gets bullied and things then when she can take it no longer she finds a friend in exactly the same position as her and they decide to make the journey home! …Maybe i could send you the first few pages and see what you think?? iif yu have time of course ii know you have 3?? kids… (( i think )) ..xAre you working on another book? i hope sooBad news my sister has nicked her book (( The Forbidden Room)) back off me : ( ! But I still have my competition winning book TRAP i have just re-read it….a book is always a bit better the second tym round i think u pick up on details that you never saw b4!!anyways iv gotta go im writing and exam so need to get on …xh3h3 x : )

Hi Rubii,

(Are you meaning to do double ‘i’s everywhere or is there something wrong with your keyboard??)

It’s really nice to hear from you again – your idea for the book you’re writing sounds brill! I can see that being a really good book. If you send me the first few pages I’ll read it. I am working on a new book, although I also have a finished book that I sent to the publishers in April and they still haven’t started work on publishing it yet! The new book is almost finished as well – I’m really enjoying writing the exciting end bit at the moment.

Tomorrow I’m the guest speaker at a Save The Children prize giving lunch for a writing competition they did, so I’m feeling a bit nervous about that.

Good luck with your exams. (Is it okay if I put this message on the website)


lol… sorii ii just do teh ii <<

okay ii wiill mail them to you soon!

the exams were k !

and thanx i think it cud b a good book lol!

dont b nervous you wiill be fine! : )

anyways i gtg … but yur corse its okai if you put this on the webby : P

write bakk

love xxx roo xxx

p.s… tell me some details bout your New books πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ quite excited ! x

My guest speaker thing went okay, and a teacher at it asked me to come and speak at her school, so it can’t have been too bad! The book that is at the publishers is a murder mystery – the main character is an Irish girl who finds herself in a kind of prison in a foreign country (Iceland) and all she can remember is an image of blood spattering onto snow. A psychiatrist helps her to remember things from her life, and it’s like a jigsaw fitting together the pieces to find out what happened and whose blood it was. I’m pretty pleased with it – I hope they hurry up and publish!!

The one I’m writing at the moment is partly set in Formby in Merseyside where I grew up, and partly set in the African rainforest. It’s kind of a scary thriller, but I don’t want to say too much and give away the plot!

I got this email from Jasmine on 17th NovemberI must seem a bit obsessive with my replies now, but I simply MUST talk to you!! I have read Anne of Green Gables and many other classics, they’re generally my favourite type of book. I’ve actually read all the classics my school library owns and basically all of the ones from the public library. Neither have A little princess but I’ve asked for it for Christmas. I’ve just read the book ‘Kiss’ by Jacqueline Wilson. It is so emotional it made me cry! My mum came into my room while I was crying and it was REALLY embarrassing! But like nearly every book, it has a happy ending so I was smiling! Got to go! But I hope we can have a ‘chat’ again soon!Jasmine x

Hi Jasmine, it’s always nice to hear from you. I was looking at A Little Princess on Amazon, and the list of books that people who bought A little Princess also bought has some really good books in it – you should look at that for inspiration. I haven’t read Kiss by Jacqueline Wilson, but I do like books that make me cry. When I read Private Peaceful, by Michael Morpurgo I cried so loudly that my husband came running in from the bathroom where he was shaving to see what was wrong with me! Have you read Airman by Eoin Colfer? It’s a new book, but feels like a classic. It’s maybe more of a boy book than a girl book, but I liked it.

This message came from Brittany T. on 15th NovemberI just finished reading your first book, The Forbidden Room in one sitting! It was so intriguing that I couldn’t put it down! I loved the characters, the mysterious element to it and the truth and sadness to the story. I felt like I was actually Jenny, experiencing these thing in her life with her. It was a great read and I am now reading The Trap. Keep up the awesome writing! I loved it. πŸ™‚

Wow, thanks Brittany! I really enjoyed writing The Forbidden Room, although I cried when I wrote the sad bits! I based Jenny on a real girl who I saw in a TV programme, because she was very inspiring, and I really tried hard to make her character more than just a girl in a wheelchair. I have a finished book with my publishers, which I am very pleased with, although they haven’t said when (or if) they are going to publish it yet, and I am working on another book which is about three quarters written. It’s very encouraging for me when people like you tell me to keep on writing – I love writing and never want to stop but I do get discouraged when my publisher drags it’s heels – so thank you for cheering me up!

Polly Huscroft wrote this on 4th NovemberHi, I love The Forbidden Room! It’s so exiting! Though I won’t let my mum read it! xxx

Hi Polly, Thanks! I’m glad you like The Forbidden Room. When I’m writing books I still worry about what my mum will think of them when she reads them, and I’m 39 years old!

I got an email on 27th October from new writer Neal James whose first book has just been published. I know how difficult it is to reach that milestone, so congratulations Neal, and I’m happy to give your book a quick plug here. It’s called A TICKET TO TEWKESBURY and is a political thriller with a bit of murder mystery and romance thrown in.

Here’s a link to Neal’s book on Amazon:

A ticket to Tewkesbury, Amazon link

Natalie Lorimer contacted me on 20th October:Thanks for reading this email cause I’m sure you get loads cause LOADS of people love your books! (Me included)I’ve read both of your books and they are genius. I read The Forbidden Room a few months ago and I was hooked! I loved it from start to finish and have also recommended it to my English teacher and all of my friends. I also love The Trap too. I read it in the car on my way to St Annes & we passed lots of woods and I was scared that someone would jump out of them with a chain saw or something!Please publish this on your page if you can cause I write to lots of my favourite authors but I never get a reply, but I guess that’s understandable as you guys are busy people.So once again thanks for reading and I hope you are well,From Natalie

I’m very well thank you, Natalie! I’m getting ready to do a school visit tomorrow so I’m a little nervous but also excited. I’m so glad you like my books. I have finished a third book, but my publishers are waiting for more copies of The Trap to sell before they’ll publish the new one, so thank you for telling your teacher and your friends about me – the more people who buy The Forbidden Room or The Trap, the more likely (or quickly) the next book will get published. It’s a little scary because I don’t ever want to stop writing and I hope the publishers don’t stop publishing me. Getting emails like yours, Natalie make it all worthwhile and makes me all the more determined to keep going. Thank you!

This message came in from Jade Arnott on 18th October:I am entering the free draw competition, preferably for the book The Trap. I am 14 years old and I found The Forbidden Room in my library at school, the front cover and description caught my eye and I had to take it out.My parents are recently fostering so I found a funny irony in reading the book.I just wanted to thank you for writing a fantastic book, I couldn’t ever, ever find a book that interested me so much that I got stuck into it but your book just changed my opinion and has given me a higher love for reading.I’m not too sure if The Trap is in my library but a signed book would be amazing! : DThankyou!Jadex

Thanks Jade! I’m so glad you liked The Forbidden Room. I really like the cover of it too – it’s eye-catching. I had nothing to do with designing it, that’s thanks to the people at Faber (thanks people at Faber!). I cut out a little bit of your email (sorry!) because it gave away some things from the book that people wouldn’t know if they hadn’t read it. I’ve entered you into the free draw, which will take place at the end of November. Good luck!

It really makes me happy to get emails from people who’ve enjoyed reading one of my books. This message from Jasmine on 10th October made me smile a lot.Hi, I’d like to say I’m your number one fan! The Forbidden Room is my second favourite all time book (after The Secret Garden which is a true classic)! I asked for The Trap for my birthday on Monday and I’ve already read it! Gosh it was freaky! I literally couldn’t go up the stairs on my own without thinking someone wasn’t lurking around the corner! But it was so good. I absolutely loved it!I’d also like to tell you that I now attend my school book club and when I have a chance to recommend a book I’m going to choose The Forbidden Room!Please keep writing fabulous stories, I’ll probably buy them as soon as they come out.

Thank you so much Jasmine! I love The Secret Garden too – I loved it when I was younger, and I loved reading it aloud to my daughter recently. I also love The Little Princess – have you read that as well? I don’t realise how scary my books are when I’m writing them, until people read them and tell me they were terrified! Still, it’s fun to be a bit scared sometimes (I hope). I go to a book group too – we’re all middle aged women, but we have lots of fun and spend more time laughing than talking seriously about the books. They wanted to discuss The Forbidden Room but I was too embarrassed, so I wouldn’t let them!

Here’s Jasmines reply:Thank you for replying to my message! I’m glad that it made you smile! I’m taking your advice and I’m going to look for The Little Princess in my library soon. I would also like to say that I love The Railway Children (do you?) and I love this book I was reading for my book club called The Garbage King by Elizabeth Laird. I know that you probably wouldn’t read it but I’d like to recommend it to other users of the site. I forgot to say I would like to enter the free draw because even though I own both books I would treasure a signed copy forever!!! Thank you again for your reply to my previous message, Jasmine xxxxxxxxxx

Hi Jasmine! I do love The Railway Children – it’s another one that I read as a child and then read to my own daughter. I haven’t heard of the Garbage King, but I’ll keep an eye out for it now. I’ve entered you into the next draw that will take place at the end of November. Good luck! By the way, have you read the Anne of Green Gables books? – I really liked them. Another set of books I would recommend are the Mennyms books by Sylvia Waugh – I think they’re brill too.

The winner of the September draw was Michael Wilson.

Congratulations! I’m waiting for Michael to contact me with his postal details so I can send him his prize.

Michael Wilson sent me three messages on 29th September:

I really like your book (The Forbidden Room). It was a really captivating story. My family and I give it ten out of ten. I would like to be entered for the free draw if that is possible. Keep on writing more books. I will be looking forward to your next one!!!

I REALLY LOVE YOUR BOOKS!!! I am looking forward to buying The Forbidden Room for Christmas so that I can read it again and again. What made you be a writer in the first place??

Thanks Michael! I’ve entered you into the draw which takes place TOMORROW! – Good luck! I have a finished book with the publishers, who are deciding whether or not to publish it, and they told me they’d give me an answer by the end of September, which is tomorrow and I haven’t heard yet!! EEK!! I think it’s a good book so I really hope they decide to publish it. I’m writing a new book as well  – I love writing and will keep going as long as I can get things published.
I looked up Uffculme High School on google and found that it’s in Devon – cool. I love doing school visits but so far I’ve only done them in Ireland, unless I’m over in England for something else and then I’ll try to fit in some school visits while I’m there. If a few school in an area wanted me to come and were willing to pay my air fare from Belfast between them, then I would happily come.
I became a writer because I’m a total bookworm and have always loved reading. When I had children I stopped work when they were babies to be at home with them but I got kind of bored so I started writing then and found I loved it so much that I never went back to work but I just spend all my free time writing now.

This message came in on 22nd September:
My name is Nathan Barr I am 10 and am reading The Forbidden Room at the minute in school. My school is Glenwood P.S. on the Shankill. I’m really enjoying The Forbidden Room and can’t wait to find out what happens next so I might get my mum to buy me it so I can read it at home too.

Hi Nathan! I’m glad you like The Forbidden Room – Thank you! The Shankill is just down the road from where I live in Belfast, so if your teacher wanted I could come into you school one day and meet your class. Maybe when you’ve finished reading the book, you could all think of some questions and I’ll come in and try to answer them. I could sign any copies of The Forbidden Room or my other book The Trap that you have, or I could bring some with me in case anyone wanted to buy their own copy. Your teacher could email me if she (or he) wanted to arrange that.

Here’s an interesting question from Monica Matassa:

I love your books and they have been a total inspiration for me as I now want to be a writer! I completely devoured “The Trap” and read it in a couple of hours non stop ha! Have you got any tips on how I can make my stories longer as mine usually are only 2 pages long even though I try to be as descriptive as possible?! Please answer, love Monica.

I’m glad you like my books, Monica – loving reading was what made me want to be a writer too. It definitely takes practice to be able to pace your writing for a long story or novel. Teenage novels should have about 60 000 words, and adult novels should have at least 80 000. The first books I wrote only had about 30 000 words, which I thought was loads. I think because it takes so long to write the words, you forget that it doesn’t take the reader very long to read them. If you want to write a novel length story, I think it’s a good idea to plan it out first – what’s the main plot? what other things are going on at the same time that make it more interesting? What are the characters like – what scenes could you have to show what kind of people they are? Where is it set etc, and then write each scene like it’s a story in its own right, but when lots of scenes come together it makes a book. Sometimes I think it helps to think of the story like it’s a movie, and think about what scenes there might be in the movie  that would be fun to watch, or that help you to get to know the characters or that give clues about the main plot. I hope that helps! Although, maybe writing short stories is your skill – you should try sending them off to magazines or short story competitions – you never know what might happen…!

I’ve been ill this week with tonsillitis and haven’t had any energy to update my website, but today I’m feeling a little better, and this email came from Eleanor:

I love your book, The Forbidden Room. I got it as a present for Christmas one year, and have read it two or three times over. The Trap is definitely on my Christmas list this year! I can’t wait to read it! Will you be writing anymore books?

Thanks Eleanor! I’ll add your name into the hat for the free draw at the end of September, so you might even get The Trap sooner than Christmas! You asked will I be writing any more books – well, I have one finished book with the publishers, and another that I’m about a quarter of the way through writing. I hope that I will keep on writing books all my life – as long as people keep buying them! Because people have less money at the moment (with the dreaded credit crunch) not as many books are being bought, which makes publishers a little wary of publishing new stuff, but hopefully things will improve and my new books will hit the shelves soon.

The winner of the June free draw was Ruby Leather. Ruby received a signed copy of The Trap, and this is what she wrote about it:

I have finished reading the trap it is awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i agrreee with the sarah who commented on you there has to be a sequal … cos i luv it !?!?!!?!? i think star sounds quite annoying and matt sounds HOTT lol …..i gotta question ?!?!?! …

was it easier writing from a girls point of view (forbidden room) rather than a boys (trap) ????

Thanks ruby! I’m glad you liked The Trap and that’s a good question about the boy girl thing. It’s funny, my sister’s thirteen year old son has read both books, and he said to his mum that Aunty Sarah is much better at knowing how a teenage boy thinks that how a teenage girl does, and when she told me I thought, how does he know how a teenage girl thinks!

It was quite fun writing as a boy, but I was tempted to poke fun of boys a bit and I had to discipline myself to be nice to my character.

The next book that I’ve finished writing but isn’t published yet has a girl as the main character, and the one I’ve started writing now has different bits from the point of view of different characters, so I get to be a boy and a girl!

(PS Ruby, I tried to reply to your email personally but the email bounced back to me – sorry.)

I got these two messages from Caitlin on 22nd August:

hiya im caitlin im 11 and i love the trap im reading it now and i cant put it down πŸ™‚ its amazing i like drew the counciler the best lol
i go to smithills high school in bolton and i saw ur book in waterstones and ive been a big fan ever since lol πŸ™‚

i really want to write as good as you you are fantastic such an imagination :)!

Thank you so much for the messages, Caitlin. I’m glad you like The Trap – my sister just read it and said it made her too scared to go outside in the dark!
I read loads of books and I like watching movies as well which helps with my imagination, and it took me years to write something good enough to get published. If you want to write my advice is to read loads and to practice writing loads. Good luck!

I’m so excited! I got my first message from someone who’s read The Trap. This message arrived from Margaret on 11th August.

I’ve just finished reading “The Trap”. I thought it was incredible, I could not put it down until I was done. Thank you for writing such a great book, I’m really glad I read it. Now I’m going to read  “The Forbidden Room” which sounds great too. I like the way you right and I hope that one day I’ll be half as good a writer as you, and if I do then I would have really accomplished something in life.

Wow! Thank you Margaret. It’s quite nerve wracking waiting to hear what people think of my new book, and I’m so relieved that the first review I’ve had is so positive. I really hope I do get to read one of your books one day, Margaret.

This message came on 5th August from Tom:

I couldn’t put it down, it is the best book I have ever read and I was sad to finish it. Really want there to be a sequel book.

Thanks Tom! There isn’t a sequel to The Forbidden Room, although I have an idea where a character or two from The Forbidden Room might make a guest appearance in a different book. My second book The Trap is out now though!

I was having a bit of a ratty day on 4th August, and then this message from Jess W arrived and really cheered me up!

I cannot describe how much I enjoyed reading “Forbidden Room”! It’s the best book I’ve ever come across. Before I’d even finished reading it I was looking for you and your books online but to my disappointment there was nothing. But a few months ago me and my Mum came across this site that said your new book “The Trap” was coming out soon. I was so excited. My 12th birthday is coming up and you wouldn’t guess what is at the top of my list!

Love Jess

Thanks Jess! I got a review on Amazon the other day from someone who obviously hated my book, and they said it read like ‘a sack of potatoes falling down the stairs’ so it’s especially nice to get a message from someone like you who liked it. I hope you like The Trap as well, and happy birthday!

I got this message from Jessica on 30th JulyLast night I stayed up finishing The Forbidden Room. I really enjoyed it, it had me turning the page, going ‘no’ in several places. Because of my own health, I was intrigued how you portrayed life of a disabled girl. I think you pulled it off really well! I enjoyed it, it all made sense, and I could relate to a lot of the feelings and emotions.Then we get to the end. Initially I was like, nope! Didn’t like that!’ (the problem with being a writer, I keep thinking ‘I’d do x, y, z differently :D) But then I sat and thought ‘why would Sarah end it that way? Why not have John and Helen sent to prison?’ I suppose the responsibility was too much for Jenny. She’s giving Stephen a chance to find out the truth, other foster kids to learn the truth so they can decide what to do for themselves.So, although the ending wasn’t what I expected, or initially wanted, I think I have a vague understanding why it happened that was. It beats the usual ‘happily ever after’ ending, which normally doesn’t happen in real life.I look forward to reading your next book!

This is the reply that I sent to Jessica:

Hi Jessica,

Thanks for you email. It’s interesting what you say about the ending of The Forbidden Room. I’ve been surprised by how many people really didn’t like the slightly ambiguous ending – although people don’t necessarily agree about how I should have ended it. Slightly more than half wanted the Hollands to get their comeuppance, but a sizeable minority wanted Jenny to stay with them and let them keep taking her blood, or to do what she did for the good of Stephen. I think that even though things usually don’t resolve neatly in real life, people like books to. Personally I like books that make you think and wonder what would happen next, or want to discuss them with other people, which is what I hoped The Forbidden Room would do, but nonetheless, I’ve taken the feedback I’ve got from The Forbidden Room, and tried to give my other books more definite endings (not necessarily happy endings, although I know people like happy endings as well.)

Sarah Wray

P.S. I know what you mean about reading books as a writer, I’m always thinking I would have done this or that differently, or alternatively being so impressed with how someone did something that I despair of ever being that good!

I got this message from Ruby Leather on 12th July

Hiya Sarah

I’m just writing to say hi….x so hiya! I’m 13 and live in the lake district a couple of weeks ago I was rooting around for a good read when in my sisters room I noticed a book (The Forbidden Room) as soon as I turned the first page I was captured I think it was brilliant and captivating…I have always wanted to be an author I love writing and when I read your book it inspired me I’ve read it 3 times now lol πŸ™‚ and I β™₯ it ! but anyway I wanted my own copy cos I cant reli nik my sisters =P so I read you page on wn a signed copy is said to send an email adn use the term free draw I don’t know what that is but… FREE DRAW “laugh” anyway wb luv ur kwl fan…

roobi roo

P.S. I can’t wait until ur next book camp hope it gonna be sound =D x

Thanks Roobi roo!

The free draw has been a little delayed this month, because I was waiting until I got some copies of my new book The Trap (it does say Camp Hope on the cover, but the title is actually The Trap!) I’ve got two copies so far, and my son and daughter claimed them. My son has just finished reading one (and he loved it – phew!) so I can offer that as a prize now (only slightly dog-eared!). I’ll make the draw today, and contact the lucky winner by email. Fingers crossed!

I got this message from Sarah on 4th June 2008:Hi Sarah, my name is also Sarah as you’ve probably already guessed. I just decided to search for a few more books of the same sort of genre from The Forbidden Room, which I have recently read. I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely loved your books. There are not many books that I WANT to read, with this particular one I couldn’t put it down! I never used to read a lot and I was going on holiday and saw this book in a shop which my younger sister picked out for me. When I started reading this book it kind of got me more into reading and now I’m taking higher English (15 years old) and I have to do a Personal Study and I’m glad to put this book forward as my choice. I loved it, you got me into reading and hopefully a good English grade. Thanks a lot. Please e-mail me back. Sarah.

Wow! This email really made me happy – I’ve been a total bookworm for as long as I remember, and to think that something that I wrote inspired you to get interested in reading and studying English is just fantastic. I wish you all the best in your studies, Sarah – who knows, maybe one day I’ll be reading your books!

I got this message from Rachel:I love Jasper πŸ˜€

I’m not sure how it relates to The Forbidden Room, but, hey, I’m all for expressions of true love. Let’s hear it for Rachel and Jasper!

Rachel added:I loved the book too

Thanks Rachel!

*Spoiler alert*

This question was sent in by Danielle.What made u write about Jenny having a car accident and being an orphan and she gets adopted by the Hollands and the Hollands never grow?

The idea for The Forbidden Room came to me when I was watching a news story about a couple whose little boy was dying of a genetic disease. The couple wanted to have a second baby so they could use its blood to make stem cells to treat their dying child. I wondered how far parents would go to save their children from dying if they could. So I thought of the Hollands, who had already lost two daughters, and would do anything to save their only remaining child. I wanted the story to be a mystery, told from the point of view of Jenny, who didn’t know what was going on. When I was thinking about Jenny – who she was and why she was in a foster home, I thought of the accident that killed her mother, and thought that it would be fitting if the accident also made her disabled – because she felt guilty about the accident, and felt that she should be punished, and also her disability added to making Jenny an interesting person. As to the last bit of your questions, about the Hollands not growing, I think that was about Helen Holland being so upset about her two daughters dying, and the thought of losing her son, that she didn’t want to lose him in any way even by him growing up and leaving home. Also I heard about a scientist who predicted that stem cell therapy could make people live much much longer lives, and I thought that raised a lot of questions about whether living forever would be a good thing or not.

I got a message from Sophie, that I liked so much I printed it out to show my whole family. I tried replying to Sophie’s email personally, but unfortunately the email bounced back (Sophie, if you’re reading this, maybe the email address you gave me wasn’t right?).Hi Sarah Wray,I recently read your book, The Forbidden Room, and I have to say that I thought it was AMAZING!! After looking on your website I know the names of your other books and I am going to try to find those in the library. You are an inspiration to young storytellers everywhere, and I think that you should be REALLY proud of yourself for producing this amazing book!! I read it all in an hour!! I got so gripped by it!! I really felt like I was Jenny and I understood what she was going through. I have both my legs but the way you had written it, anyone reading it could tell what Jenny was feeling and why. Thanks so much for writing that book!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I think you should do a sequel to it. Thanks Sarah and Goodbye. xxx :)PS Please reply! I would love to hear from you!!

Wow! see what I mean – what a great message. I have always loved reading, and I think it’s amazing that people read things that I’ve written now – It gives me a real buzz to hear from someone who’s read my book and liked it.

My second book, The Trap, is not out until 7th August, so your library won’t have it yet, but hopefully it will after that. I just sent a new manuscript off to my publishers a few days ago, so I’ll let you know if they want to publish it.

I don’t have any plans for a sequel to The Forbidden Room at the moment, but quite a few people have said they wish I would, so you never know, maybe one day.

This question was sent in by A. Khan:

What was the hardest part in writing The Forbidden Room ?

Usually the hardest part of writing for me is coming up with a good idea for a book – with a storyline and characters and setting that all come together to make something special – it can take me weeks or even months to settle on an idea that I think is good enough to write. I was lucky with The Forbidden Room, because the idea came to me very quickly all at once when I was watching the news one day. Because I was very excited by the idea, the actual writing came quite easily – although I do get upset and cry when I write emotional scenes! Also, when I decided that the character Jenny was going to be disabled, I felt a great responsibility to write her in a way that didn’t offend or annoy people who really do live with disability. That was quite hard, although I was inspired by a girl who I saw in a TV documentary who like Jenny had both her legs amputated above the knee, but who didn’t let that stop her from doing all the things in life she wanted to do, and being a person who you would want to get to know for herself regardless of her disability.

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