‘Alice’ springs to life in new children’s trilogy

HARRY Potter watch out.

Limerick author Judi Curtin is about to cast her own spell on young readers with her character, ‘Alice O’Rourke’.

Alice has already caught the imagination of young readers within days of appearing on the bookshelves.

‘Alice Next Door’ is the first children’s book by Judi Curtin and one of a trilogy based on ‘Alice’, a 12-year-old Limerick girl.

The second book in the series, titled ‘Alice Again’, has already been completed, but won’t appear until the autumn of 2006.

O’Brien Press are to publish Judi’s books.

Judi has now begun work on the third in the trilogy of Alice books.

Judi, who is married to Limerick solicitor Dan O’Gorman, has two successful adult novels to her name, ‘Sorry Walter’ published in 2003 and ‘From Claire to Here’ published last year. Both were published by Tivoli.

Judi said: “The two novels went very well and they gave me a foot in the door and O’Brien Press have agreed to publish the Alice books.”

Judi said she decided to venture into children’s books as the adult book scene appeared to have become overcrowded.

She said: “My children, Brian, 14, Ellen, 12, and Annie, nine, are also at an age when I can get them to help with ideas and even language. And I also wanted to write something which they would enjoy reading.”

Having had two books published, she found it easier to get a publisher for her Alice books.

She said: “It’s a Catch 22. To get a first book published, you need to have one already published. O’Brien Press have done a wonderful job with the book and it only went on general sale last Friday. Even at this early stage the feedback from book stores is very encouraging.”

Judi, a native of Douglas in Cork, said: “Her best friend Megan Sheehan moves to Dublin after a family break-up. The girls plot to get back together and the story tells of their efforts to achieve this.”

She said the ‘Alice’ books should appeal to girls in the nine to 13 age group.

Judi, who has always been a big reader, loved storytelling when she taught in primary schools in Portlaoise and Limerick.

She said: “I spent so much time reading stories and then got the idea why not write my own stories.

“And with children of my own in the house you get the nuances in the use of language and then I would ask them what might be said in a given situation. And they would also advise against using some phrases or situations. The help gave me a guide, but I am careful not to superimpose their personalities or those of their friends onto the characters in the books.”

* ‘Alice Next Door’ is published by 0’Brien Press, priced €7.95.

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