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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 14:54 GMT
Family writers strike it rich
Louisa Young
Ms Young: Is she the new J K Rowling?
A schoolgirl and her mother have signed a publishing deal reputedly worth almost 1m for a children's story that could rival Harry Potter.

Lionboy, the tale of a boy who talks to cats, has been created by Louisa Young and her 10-year-old daughter Isabel.

Publisher Puffin, the children's arm of Penguin, has signed the pair in a "substantial" three-book deal said to be "in the high six figures".

The amount dwarfs the 2,000 paid to J K Rowling for her first Harry Potter tale, The Philosopher's Stone.

J K Rowling
Rowling has amassed a fortune from the Potter books
Rowling is now the UK's highest earning woman with a fortune of more than 200m.

Lionboy will be the title of the first book in a trilogy by Louisa and Isabel.

It will be published in October under the pen name "Zizou Corder". Zizou is the name of the family's pet lizard.

Set in a futuristic London, it follows the adventures of Charlie Ashanti, who speaks "cat" - the language of wild and domestic feline creatures.

His unusual talent helps him on his quest to find his kidnapped parents who have discovered a cure for asthma.

Family production

Originally created by mother and daughter as bedtime stories, they only recently put the tales down on paper.

Ms Young, 43, a Cambridge graduate and former freelance journalist who lives in London, said it was "a family production".

"Isabel has the ideas and I do the typing," she told The Daily Telegraph. "We are splitting the money 50-50."

She has already written several books including a biography of her grandmother Kathleen Scott, the widow of Scott of the Antarctic.

Puffin is hoping Lionboy will rival the impact of Harry Potter.

"It is an exotic, compelling adventure that entertains but also has depth, raising issues that readers care passionately about," editorial director Sarah Hughes said.

"It shows real talent, which Louisa and Isabel have by the bucket load."

See also:

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