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Blue Toon quine and global best-seller Estelle Maskame is heading into unknown territory for next book

Estelle Maskame. Picture by Chris Sumner
Estelle Maskame. Picture by Chris Sumner

Estelle Maskame can usually be found typing away on her laptop, which is not particularly unusual for a 22-year-old.

She can spend hours with her face hidden behind the screen, having set up an office from her home in Peterhead.

But rather then checking social media or curating another Instagram post, Estelle is actually shaping the plot for her next book.

And if her international best-selling trilogy is anything to go by, it will be eagerly consumed by an ever-loyal fan base.

Estelle was only 13 years old when she started her first novel, which went on to sell 1.25 million copies around the world.

It’s not difficult to see why she has been likened to the next JK Rowling, having already produced six books.

She was also the recipient of a Young Scot award in 2016, and her Did I Mention I love You? trilogy, which quickly became known as DIMILY, dealt with complex themes including love between step-siblings.

Estelle Maskame. Picture by Chris Sumner

It has certainly been an intense few years, but despite her fame, Estelle remains remarkably down to earth.

Still living at home with her parents, Estelle is working on her seventh book, having just released her latest novel The Wrong Side of Kai.

Having exclusively written young-adult fiction, she is heading into unknown territory as her next offering will be her first shot at writing for adults.

The plot remains top secret, but if Estelle is feeling the pressure, she certainly isn’t showing it.

Fresh from a much-needed break over the summer, she caught up with us after launching The Wrong Side of Kai in Waterstones at Aberdeen’s Bon Accord Centre.

“I don’t really have that much spare time, I plan my days around my work,” she said.

“Obviously I’m incredibly lucky to love what I do, to have made a career out of writing.

“When my sister left home, I turned her bedroom into my office, so I have a dedicated space where I can work.

“I use a laptop and I’ve got to admit that I also work from bed as well.

“I try not to force anything, and if something inspires me then I make a note of it.”

Estelle partly credits a love of reading from childhood for her unexpected rise to fame.

“For as long as I can remember I’ve always loved reading,” she said.

“My mum was a big reader, I grew up with books.

“I think my childhood reads are still in the attic, I really loved the Horrid Henry series.

“I thought to myself that I could have a go at writing.

“Once I started, I got more and more serious about it, to the point that I actually allocated time after school.

“I remember in primary school we were allowed to do our own writing once a week, but that wasn’t enough for me.

“I started writing whenever I could, to the point that I had to be reminded to do my homework.

“I was always in my room writing and I’d work on stuff during free periods at school.

“I think the idea for the DIMILY series came because I was reading books where two people couldn’t be together for whatever reason.

“I never thought that the obstacles in their way were all that big though, it seemed like these trivial problems could be easily overcome.

“I started thinking about more serious issues which could keep people apart, and I came up with this forbidden love between step-siblings.

“I never expected the DIMILY series to take off in the way it did though, I was just writing because I enjoyed it.”

Estelle published her work online, thus sparking a viral frenzy.

By the time she was 17 years old, Estelle was offered her first publishing deal.

“I actually think it was the Press and Journal who did an interview with me, because my work online went viral,” she said.

“My publishing deal came at just the right time; I was still at school sitting my Highers and I didn’t know what else I wanted to do except write.

“The Wrong Side of Kai is a standalone book and it focuses on themes which young adults will probably be familiar with.

“An explicit video gets leaked and it obviously has a major impact on the protagonist’s life.

“My themes have matured as I’ve grown up and my next book is my first work for adults.

“I often feel that I lead a double life, I like to keep my writing and my personal life quite separate.

“When I’m with friends, I don’t talk about writing at all.”

What would Estelle’s advice be to fellow young authors, eager to follow in her footsteps?

“I always tell people to have fun with their writing, it’s something I remind myself of on an almost daily basis,” she said.

“You shouldn’t be writing things which you think other people will enjoy, you need to be writing stuff that you enjoy.

“You’re never going to finish a novel if you are focusing on what your readers might think, you need to have fun.

“I still can’t really believe that this is my job.

“My grandad always told me I’d get published one day.

“I didn’t believe him, but he clearly knew from the start.”

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