Bright future for Brixham writer with a dark side
A teenage internet writing sensation is set to cash in after she secured a six-figure deal for a vampire novel.
Abigail Gibbs, 18, from Brixham in South Devon, has been commissioned by HarperCollins in Britain and America after an online novel she has released chapter by chapter notched up 17 million hits.
So far, the young writer, who starts a degree at Oxford this term, has been attracting followers on social reading website Wattpad.
She is the first talent to be discovered on the site, and now more than 100,000 fans will have to buy the ebook published this week, or the paperback out next month, to find out how her dark story ends.
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It is the tale of 18-year-old Violet Lee who witnesses a horrific mass murder in Trafalgar Square before being kidnapped into a dark world of vampires.
The teenager said the feedback from readers helped her shape future chapters.
She told The Sunday Times: "It can help you grow as a writer. People said 'what would happen if... and 'why is this never mentioned in vampire books?' I'd take that and work with it."
The teenager was inspired to create stories when she was given a writing set at the age of nine. None of her relatives are writers, and she went to a local school at the time marked as "failing" by the government. She said: "Pursuits like reading and writing weren't necessarily encouraged". She studied for her A-levels at a grammar school.
"I wrote 100 pages of a sci-fi story and after that you just couldn't stop me," she said. "Harry Potter was a massive inspiration. I read the first book about 18 times."
The teenager admits her work was partly inspired by Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books. However, Kate Elton, publisher of HarperFiction, said: "The fact that she's writing something that feels British – within a genre that's traditionally been American – gives it an individual feel."