When you think of an ‘author’, you never really think of someone who’s 14. However, for my friend (and English seat-mate) Annie Fogden, an author is exactly who she is.

In her own words, having started writing ever since she could pick up a pen to go to worlds she wanted to visit and create characters she wanted to meet, This Lighter Realm is something that’s both out of a child’s imagination, while also being a little more mature then say, a magic tree (Annie’s first completed short story, one she finished at the tender age of 6). She calls it a ‘“fantasy romance”’with a nice sprinkling of ‘“good old girl power”’, something the majority Gen Z readers are sure to love.

The book is written from the perspective of the protagonist Evanie, who discovers a new world while waiting for a letter. When asked what inspired her to write such a story, Annie tells me that the original idea for the book and the final product were incredibly different, but she was inspired by the (unusual, yes, but strangely fitting) combination of history lessons and books like Narnia and Game of Thrones, as she loves the story of Narnia and how, in the book, the protagonists keep finding out more and more about the strange, beautiful world they’re in. I, in mild awe and definite respect, ask how she feels about having written a book, something very few of the  population ( and I do include adults in this ) have done. ‘It feels mad’, is what she texts me, and, to be completely honest, if I was in her position those would be my exact words too. She tells me that every time she picks up her book, she forgets she is the author, and justifies the fact by telling me because she was the one who created the story, she forgets that she actually wrote it. When asked how she feels about being such an inspiration, she replies with perhaps the most Annie-esque statement: “I’m really happy that now I’m a published author, I may be able to show other teenagers that age doesn’t matter, and that everyone should have ambition!”

I can do nothing but agree.

A Lighter Realm is available on both the Waterstones and Amazon websites, so if you’d like an exciting read, be sure to check it out!

Shaivi Bhatta