By: Alicia Sands Lurry
Watch out, J.K. Rowling.
Seventh grader Lauren Silcock may soon take the publishing world by storm, thanks to being crowned middle school winner of the 2016 “Write Your Own Mystery Story Contest.” Earlier this spring, the budding author and Samuel Martin Inman Middle School student won top honors for her short mystery, “A Beautiful Scent,” an adventurous tale set in Glasgow, Scotland.
Originally assigned as a language arts class project, the contest required students to write a short mystery story ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 words. Silcock’s story takes place in the cold, drab Scottish countryside in the mid-1920s, a time of mysterious disappearances. The tale revolves around Skye Montgomery, the daughter of an English noble, and her butler, Alaister, who are visiting an old family friend. However, when the duke is murdered, it’s up to Skye to stop the killer before it’s too late.
Silcock said her love for writing and family trips to Scotland inspired her story.
“I really like writing,” said Silcock, who was born in Scotland and developed her passion for writing in third grade. “I was really excited when I found out I won. I’ve never won anything this big before.”
Alex Wallace, Silcock’s language arts teacher, is not surprised she won. He described her as an “exceptional” student and a purposeful, passionate writer who responds well to feedback and is unafraid to take risks.
“I knew my kids were up to the challenge,” said Wallace, who had the most students participate in the national writing contest. “I really wanted them to showcase their talent and creativity. I knew one of them would win.”
In addition to earning the top prize, Silcock received five bound copies of her story, a Skype interview with Georgia-based author Carole Marsh, and one copy of any “Real Kids! Real Places!” mystery of her choice. Her story is also featured on CaroleMarshMysteries.com and Gallopade.com, sponsors of the contest.
In a letter to Silcock, Marsh praised the young author for her talent and creativity.
“Your story simply blew me away,” Marsh wrote. “I loved the title. It made me think of something I’d make up!”
Click here To read “A Beautiful Scent.”