Highs and lows open up a new chapter at last for Amanda

A MORPETH author and comedian has finally completed her trilogy of children’s books after experiencing some positive and negative delays.

Amanda Baker’s original plan was to release Eleanor and the Dragon Runt last spring, but then things took an unexpected turn when she was recognised for her on-stage skills.

Following a few years of performance poetry and appearances at variety and music nights she did her first official comedy club gig in February 2012 at the Laughing Lasses club in Newcastle and after a few others in different towns and cities went well, she entered the Funny’s Funny stand-up competition for female comics.

The Kirkhill resident was selected for the final and performed at The Empire Casino in London’s Leicester Square in July. It also meant she was invited to do a few gigs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival a month later.

From September, she was able to turn her attentions once again to the adventure book aimed at middle school children and young teenagers and she overcame an initial computer problem to get up to the final draft.

But then disaster struck when a vital memory stick was stolen.

However, Ms Baker was determined to finish the story and spent weeks painstakingly re-collating the material that she had saved and re-doing some of the passages so it could be ready by the end of the year.

Now she is looking forward to promoting the final instalment of the action-packed stories, all written under the pseudonym Adnam Arekab.

“I feel a mix of joy and relief that Eleanor and the Dragon Runt has finally been published,” she said.

“It was at Newcastle City Library where my memory stick went missing. I was working on an iMac and the device goes in the back of the computer so you can’t see it and I forgot to take it with me when I left, although it was still a blow to hear that it had been stolen.

“Despite having the theft on CCTV, it proved impossible to retrieve the memory stick so I had to go through old files to get segments of information and put the book back together bit by bit.

“But even though it was time consuming, I knew I had to finish the trilogy both for myself and the readers.

“It was more or less ready to go in February, but then the comedy got in the way and coupled with the memory stick theft, there has been a much bigger gap between books two (Eleanor, the Dragon Witch and the Time Twisting Mirror) and three than I originally planned.

“I’m glad that I managed my time well to finish it before the end of 2012. It has allowed me to have a little break and now I’m raring to go with promoting the book over the next two months.”

The latest story has more time-travel and dragons, lots of fighting, unconventional heroes, a bit of romance and plenty of humour. As it was released as an e-book simultaneously with the paper version, Ms Baker did a blog launch at http://browngirloutsidethering.blogspot.co.uk

Its cover art was done by Rosie Swan, who is currently doing an undergraduate degree at the prestigious Glasgow School of Art. The piece is one of the works the former King Edward VI School student did for the first book – Eleanor and the Dragons of Death – that was not used.

Ms Baker has also written two adult novels and she has made her mark in other national and international competitions in recent years as she has been a finalist in another comedy contest, The Bridport Poetry Prize for a short piece about the death of her father and the enduring nature of grief, and a BBC sitcom writing challenge.

But it may be a while before she enters another one.

She said: “Being a finalist in a range of competitions has given me many fun experiences, but I’m not intending to enter any in 2013 because they have got me a bit sidetracked from what I was planning to do.”

She added: “I will be resuming my stand-up comedy performances in March with a show in Bristol and then I will take things as they come for the rest of the year.

“At the moment I have a strange feeling because for the first time in 13 years I haven’t got a book in the pipeline.”

Eleanor and the Dragon Runt is now available on Amazon in the traditional format and as an e-book.