Schoolgirl's tale about dragons becomes hot stuff in Hollywood

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The Independent Culture

For most 13-year-olds, writing a novel when they were 10 and getting it published is a big achievement. But Emma Maree Urquhart is now mulling over the possibility of a Hollywood movie deal.

The Inverness girl has become a publishing sensation after more than 50,000 copies of her book Dragon Tamers sold in less than six weeks.

The story about a teenager who is dragged into a virtual reality game and has to fight for survival against a dragon has captured the imaginations of children around the world.

Her publisher Charles Faulkner, who heads Aultbea Publishing in Inverness, said yesterday that discussions were well under way for the book to be turned into a Hollywood film after interest was expressed from several major studios.

"The book Dragon Tamers has gone absolutely wild," said Mr Faulkner.

"The awareness of this book globally is unbelievably spectacular considering it only came out on 17 December.

"We have been getting calls from stores looking for more books because customers, eager to find out what all the fuss is about, have been fighting over the few remaining copies." Emma Maree, who has just started her second year of senior school, has made numerous television and radio appearances as sales of her book continue to surge. Comparisons with J K Rowling are already being made.

"We are already in discussions about producing a movie, a television series, an audio book, a game and even translating the story into almost every major language of the world.

"I am confident that more than one million copies of the book will be sold worldwide before the end of the year."

Emma Maree began writing at 10, starting with short stories and quickly moving on to the longer form. Once she had started, she completed her debut novel in less than a year, writing longhand and transferring the results onto a computer. Last year the ambitious novelist sent off copiesto several publishers, but it was Aultbea that recognised the potential.

"She is a genius," said Mr Faulkner. "The book is very hard to put down and is not obviously written by child."

Emma Maree has already started work on the second book with the same cast of characters.

"This is not a one-off book," said Mr Faulkner. "She is most definitely just at the start of a very long and promising career."