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Rebecca Brown

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Member Bio:

Full-time mum, part-time writer. Wait, doesn't that make me one and a half people...?

I've written one and a half Young Adult novels and a children's picture book and am currently editing one of my novels. I graduated in 2016 from the Open University with a First in English, and am now working towards an MA in Literary Linguistics with the University of Nottingham.

Writing sample

Chapter One

My dearest Letty,

I am in disgrace again. I know not what my punishment is to be this time, but I must imagine that it will be very dire; indeed I daresay that starvation and imprisonment shall feature largely. You will, I know, be incapable of anything but the deepest sympathy for my plight. Please, my dear, dear, friend, send your handsome brother to my rescue post-haste! For it is all on his account that I am to be punished, you know. My sister found a note from him in my room and showed it immediately to my parents. Mama has not since ceased to express her shock and disappointment that my morals are so depraved at such a young age.

I cannot believe that Mama, and Alice too, did not have any tender feelings when they were sixteen. Well, no, perhaps I can. I do not believe my sister will ever marry, and as for Mama, I can barely conceive of her ever having been sixteen at all. As for myself, you know as well as I that I am a sadly flighty creature and shall probably die an old maid, so I intend to enjoy myself while I may.

I shall send word when I know where my prison is to be. When you do send my rescuer, please ensure that he brings some food. I cannot long survive on bread and water.

Your Emma.

Mr Flint surveyed his younger daughter gloomily. He found himself wishing, not for the first time, that he had had a son. He had a very real affection for both of his daughters but was quite sure that a son would have been easier. Girls seemed always to be getting into trouble or causing trouble or bringing trouble of one kind or another. His wife was very little help in the present situation, being engaged in lamenting her daughter's morals loudly.

"Well, Emma," he began.

"Oh, I never thought I would see the day that a daughter of mine would engage in clandestine correspondence!"

"I am sure, I do not know what we are to do this time," he continued.

"Secret letters! Assignations!"

"It seems we have given you plenty of chances to behave decorously..."

"And only sixteen! Whatever is the world coming to?"

Emma shifted uneasily. She hated these confrontations, which for some reason happened all too frequently. She was also unhappily aware that her very patient parents were reaching their limits and suspected that her next punishment would be rather more extreme than being forbidden to visit Gunters for a week. She began to call down curses on the heads of all interfering sisters who found letters which were quite obviously private, and was so busy with this agreeable task that she almost did not hear sentence being passed.

"...should not be able to get into any real trouble there," said Mr Flint.

“Where?” asked Emma, nervously.

"I believe to think Emma can get into trouble anywhere," sighed her mother.

“But where?”

“No,” said her father, firmly. “She will be quite safe in Yorkshire.”

“Yorkshire!”

“But will Yorkshire be quite safe from Emma?” asked her mother, bitterness tinging her tone.

"Yorkshire!" exclaimed Emma again, then noticed her parents staring at her with raised eyebrows. "No! Nothing ever happens up there!"

"That is rather the point, Emma," said her father drily. "Besides, I am sure an, er, enterprising young lady like yourself will find something to occupy her time, Lord help us."

"Perhaps we should reconsider, Mr Flint," interjected her mother anxiously, "It is rather a long way, and you know you were reading in the newspaper only yesterday about murders and such horrid things." At this Emma's eyes lit up. A murder to solve would certainly enliven her stay. She could picture herself outwitting desperate criminals and winning the hearts of the local populace by her keen insight and bravery. Mr Flint could see only too clearly the thoughts spinning in his daughter's head and he directed a quelling look at his wife.

"Now, Emma," he said sternly. "You are to try to behave as a civilised young lady whilst you are with your aunt, mind."

"Very well, Papa," Emma said dutifully, if a little absently. "When do I leave?"

"The day after tomorrow, I think." said her father. "I shall send word express to Aunt Georgie."

"And in the meantime you can apply yourself to ladylike pursuits," interjected her mother.

"Embroidery?" said Emma with a groan.

"Embroidery, the pianoforte, your watercolours. Miss Fimble's last report was distinctly disappointing."

"You may go now, Emma," said her father. "You have a lot to do before you leave."

Emma left the library, inwardly seething a little, despite the vague promise of adventure. She could not believe that she was being banished from London, and for what? Nothing more than receiving a few letters from her friend's brother. Well, and sending a couple as well. And one or two secret meetings. And it wasn't as if it had been worth it, she reflected. Tom Gray had done nothing more than shyly hold her hand when he was sure his sister was not watching. Letty's drawing master had tried to steal a kiss in the drawing room and she was not being sent away to the wilds of the north. She sighed, and wished that her parents had not only ever engaged female teachers. It would have been so romantic to have fallen in love with an impoverished drawing master. She climbed the stairs slowly, picturing the scene in which Mr X was no longer able to hide his love and tearfully, yet manfully, declared how unworthy he was of her fair hand.

"Emma!" he would say. "How can I live without you, my darling? Emma!" "Emma!" An unwelcome female voice intruded on her reverie. "Emma, do wake up. You nearly walked straight into me." Emma shook herself, and regarded her sister balefully.

"I was enjoying that," she said.

Current project

The novel I'm editing is a Young Adult (for the younger end of the spectrum) fantasy set in Newcastle, taking place over the course of a single, extremely busy, day.

My novel-in-progress (extract given here) is a historical coming-of-age story in which my heroine attempts to deal with manners, men and an annoyingly perfect older sister.





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