Chat (Post 143)
Chat (1999) is the story of Halley Starr, a twelve-year-old going into Year Six. During the holidays, Halley has been practising affirmations, so she is all ready to succeed. A virus means she starts the year two weeks behind her classmates, finding all the cool kids and nearly-cool kids already settled into friendships and alliances.
As a late-starter, Halley is paired with the withdrawn Mel, a service child who has come from a military base to Edinburgh near Elizabeth. Along the way, Halley wins a contest giving her 100 hours of internet access. She uses this to log into a chat room, where she styles herself as "Comet", a pun on her real name. Soon she gets to know "Luna" who claims to live in the Horsehead Nebula. As "Comet" engages in witty chat with "Luna" Halley is struggling at school. Some of the things "Luna" says suggest she knows more about Halley and Elizabeth South Primary than she should. Could Luna really be cool Lucy from school? Lucy comes to visit, but Halley's plan to unmask her goes wrong.
Halley gets advice from Mum, especially when she realises the person saying spiteful things about "the nonny" is Mel herself.
This story shows its age. No one these days would be likely to win internet access. No one would invite a friend to watch videos. The kind of chat room Halley visits is a thing of the past. Oddly, the basic plot of the story, someone chatting to a person claiming to live in Outer Space, is true. My son had an interesting time chatting to someone from Out There. He used to report on the latest news! He also spent some time at Elizabeth, and when I visited there, I got to know something about service kids.
This story is under one of my pen names; Patrick Farrell.
About the Blog
Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)
The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service, leave me a message.