Covering the coast, Burnham Market, Wells, Holt & surrounding villages

North Norfolk people

27th May 2022

Rachel Bowles catches up with teenage author, Lily Blake

There are not many 13-year-olds who could tell you they’ve had their book published. North Norfolk teenager Lily Blake is modest about her phenomenal achievement when I meet her alongside mum Jess, and brother Edward. The family moved to North Norfolk from Salford in 2018 and had little time to acclimatise themselves before Covid arrived. 

Lily is an avid reader of sci-fi and fantasy books, getting immersed in the stories and feeling a strong engagement with particular characters. She has always enjoyed storytelling and being creative, handwriting short texts in various notebooks from the age of six. Her confidence with technology such as Google Docs during home learning was the push she needed to write her own book. Aged just 11, she embarked on the journey with passion and discipline. Spending four hours each week over the course of six months, Lily completed her book. 

She tells me: “What kept me writing was the fact that if I finished, I’d be able to bring my ideas and my characters to life, even if it was only with my family and it was never published.” 

The book, The Elements – I: The Heroes’ Journey, is an exciting story with seven main characters. It’s a sci-fi fantasy incorporating the elements of fire, water, air and earth as powers for the mortals. “My favourite part of the story is when I introduce the character called Andromeda and the four new friends meet her for the first time; I enjoyed writing about the characters’ reactions to her and their realisations of their new lifestyle,” says Lily. 

Each chapter cleverly tells the story from a different character’s angle, showcasing Lily’s skills at changing the narrative. Ice is the formidable villain in the book, and let’s face it there has to be one, otherwise it isn’t an adventure. 

Since having her book published, Lily says: “My favourite moment was receiving a letter of congratulations from the local MP, Duncan Baker. That was very exciting, I never thought I’d receive anything from a Member of Parliament.”

Lily is quietly ambitious and determined to fulfil her dreams, without the detriment to other balances in a typical teenager’s life. She loves walking on the beaches and in woods around her home with her family and dog Berkeley; we chatted about the completion of her Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and choosing her GCSE option subjects. Currently, Lily has three different books at various stages of completion – I think we might have a budding JK Rowling amongst us here in North Norfolk. 

The Elements – I: The Heroes’ Journey is published by Austin Macauley Publishers (RRP £7.99), and is available from Waterstones, WHSmith and Amazon.