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Research, Writing and a Competition on a Controversial Theme

Was there ever a better time to be working with activist teens? As a YA author writing on controversial topics, I come across many committed young people determined to make a difference in the areas they support. Teens are recycling everything from obsolete laptop batteries and sneakers to turning old tyres into ‘flatless’ mountain bike tyres. Kids are creating care kits for the homeless, for teen mothers, for travellers and more. All of them are alive to the planet’s limited resources and to those sharing this space.

One young woman raising awareness about human trafficking is to be an early reader for my latest book due out late March, The Dark Quest of Countess X: A Call to the World’s Youth. The book explores ways to help the missing women of the world. Among other topics, young people investigate support for trafficked women forced into slavery through climate change.

When I began my research it took two librarians to carry the pile of books I’d pre-ordered. For although my books are fiction, they’re based on research current at the time of writing and I include a resource list for further study at the back of each book. It’s a demanding task in a topic not easy to read about. Yet the kids’ upbeat solutions may surprise you!

In this adventure, one of Europe’s richest billionaires calling herself Countess X, invites the world’s youth to take up a modern day Quest. Will they help her to challenge a colossal abuse of human rights?  Teenagers submitting the most effective suggestions will be welcomed at her European residence to present their plans. But these submissions must be their own work.

More than forty young people converge on the château to share their plans and meet with wealthy philanthropists and others prepared to put the plans into practice. Tensions accelerate as cheats are expelled, hostilities revealed and romances bloom. Then the pace of the Quest quickens – changing the participants forever.

A Competition for students in Years 7-9 will help launch the book. The winner gets books from Scholastic and other donors, plus gifts from Whittakers Chocolate and The Body Shop, two companies known to be strong supporters of slave-free supply chains. There may well be enough chocolate bars to provide a second and third prize as well!

The book has already been endorsed by Michele A’Court, writer and social commentator and Child Alert (ECPAT) NZ which upholds the fundamental rights for children in Aotearoa NZ to be free from all forms of commercial sexual exploitation.

The Dark Quest of Countess X: A Call to the World’s Youth can be pre-ordered, attracting a $10 discount. For details, see my Blog, Free Chapter Offer.