Little Horror is a fugitive, sci-fi adventure with a very unlikely hero. Rita is a baby with the personality of a teenager. Nearly two, she can talk, read, write and solve any number of problems. She is gifted, unique and unlike any other toddler she’s ever met. Despite how brilliant she is, she has to keep her skills a secret. If anyone knew, they’d never understand!
Everything is fine until Tiptoes the Clown comes to visit her nursery. Somehow, he knows about Rita’s abilities and is out to get her! Can this intelligent, street-smart little girl outrun this strange man in his ice cream van? How does he know her secret and what does he want with her? Things go from bad to worse as Rita goes on the run to save her family, using all the survival skills and resourcefulness a two-year-old can muster!
Little Horror is fast-paced and exciting. Packed with cultural references children will love, readers will be rooting for her every step of the way as she battles evil in her Paw Patrol t-shirt fuelled by Haribo.
I’m thrilled to welcome author Daniel Peak to Scope for Imagination with a special guest post about how fugitive stories have inspired this brilliant book.
I’ve always loved stories about fugitives. Lots of my favourite books and films are about people on the run: on the run from the police, from the bad guys, from the Nazis, the zombies, the evil scientists and government conspiracies – you name the threat, I’ve read stories about people running away from it.
There’s Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd: hero meets a stranger in a restaurant / stranger leaves a document behind / stranger gets murdered / hero becomes prime suspect in the murder / hero is chased round London by police and baddies.
There’s Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household: hero fails to assassinate Hitler / hero is pursued by baddies / hero hides in a big hole and shoots anyone who tries to dig him out.
There’s The Fugitive: Harrison Ford’s wife is killed by a one-armed man / Harrison becomes prime suspect / Harrison shaves his beard off and jumps off a dam pursued by Tommy Lee Jones or something.
And there’s the great-grandaddy of them all: The 39 Steps by John Buchan, (filmed by Alfred Hitchcock): hero meets a spy / spy gets murdered / hero (you guessed it) becomes prime suspect / hero disguises himself as a milkman and runs round Scotland until he solves the case.
They’re all utterly brilliant, exciting and highly-recommended stories, all with certain elements in common: the hero is the victim of injustice. The hero is brave. The hero is alone, forced to rely on the kindness of strangers but never sure of who can be trusted.
But of course those stories have something else in common: in every single one, the hero is a man. A big strapping grown man, with a lifetime of worldly experience and often with a convenient beard to shave off for a swift change of appearance.
Well, what if that predicament was thrust upon someone a bit different? What if it were someone who couldn’t just blend into the crowd and disappear? What if our fugitive were a one-year-old girl called Rita who had never before left the house by herself and didn’t have the upper body strength to open a jam jar?
That’s the idea behind Little Horror. Rita is smarter than your average one-year-old but she still feels helpless and alone when her family disappear and she is forced to flee from a sinister clown. And by making my main character a toddler, I could take the fugitive story into new territory – like soft play centres and Tesco Extras – while
stealing borrowing some twists and turns from the classic adventures I mentioned above.
One more thing those stories share: the hero (usually) wins in the end. The baddies are punished and justice is done. And Little Horror is no exception, proving I hope that it is possible to save the day even without shaving your beard off.
Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.