Talented young author Leo scoops US publishing deal
A SIX-YEAR-OLD boy has set his sights on becoming as famous as JK Rowling after having his first book published in America.
And Leo Hunter has no time to rest – a contract has been signed for the youngster to pen a further 23 children's stories.
Leo gets his talent from his author mum, Jamie Hunter, of Derby Road, Spondon, who admits she helps him with some of the writing.
Her agency spotted a tale by Leo – which he called Me and My Best Friend – and brought it to the attention of US publishing firm Strategic Book Publishing (SBP).
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SBP was so impressed that it published the story and executives have agreed to publish more tales by Leo, although, because he is so young, a pseudonym has to be used.
Leo, who wrote the book when he was five, said he was setting his sights high.
He said: "I like Harry Potter but I like my books even more. I would like to be more famous than JK Rowling and even more famous than Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell.
"Writing makes me very, very happy. It's so interesting. I like writing about dogs, people – every single thing."
The Springfield Primary School pupil decided to write a story after seeing the satisfaction his mother got out of having a book published.
Jamie wrote a novel based on domestic violence, Nick Twisted Minds, which was published by AuthorHouse in 2008.
Jamie said: "When you get a book in print you feel so proud of yourself.
"If Leo feels as proud of himself as I did then he's had an unbelievable feeling. I'm not surprised he wants more of it."
Jamie said her son comes up with ideas for a basic plot – for example, a boy who gets lost – and then she helps him make notes that help him write the story.
She said: "He's very bossy and tells me exactly how he wants the front page to look like and how the illustrations should appear.
"We've worked very closely with the people who design the pages. Leo has dictated what he wants."
She added: "He could potentially be as rich as Stephen King and JK Rowling, or he could be as rich as Joe Bloggs down the road who nobody has heard of."
Me and My Best Friend sells for $13.95 in the States.
Jamie said she did not know how much money her son would make from the books.
She said: "The deal means he will get 20 per cent of the royalties, which will rise to 50 per cent when sales reach 500."
Jamie said her son had surprised many people with his book deal.
"When he was at school he had a report saying that his story writing needed improving and that he needs to remember there's a beginning, middle and an end.
"I made the comment saying that a publisher has taken one of his books.
"He's so young that he is not allowed to sign a contract with the publishers. It's unfortunate because it means his name doesn't get to go on the book, but we make sure everyone we know realises that he is the author."
The book can be ordered by going to www.strategicbook publishing.com/MeAndMy BestFriend.html. It can also be ordered online in the UK and at local bookshops or libraries.