Young Whitburn author steams ahead with children's book on a boy and a train
Under the name DL Warren, Dan Warren from Whitburn, has written Time to Shine, a novella aimed at five to 10 year-olds and described as, “ A children’s novella based on the drama of a railway company.”
The story involves young Alfie Blackdale, the shy son of a locomotive owner. Alfie helps work on the engine until it is derailed and almost reduced to scrap. He sets out to save his father's engine, which must be repaired or there will be dire consequences for him and his family.
His efforts see him undergo a life changing experience. As the title of the book suggests, it is his time to shine.
Dan, 21, said: “It centres on the shy, reclusive son of an engine owner. It’s really about him discovering who he is.
“It’s fiction, but it’s based on a real-life event.”
That event was an actual railway collision involving a train bound for Peterborough in 1958. Dan was inspired by the story and sent his work to Cambridge based publishers Arena Books, who were very impressed by his story telling talent.
Dan studied child care at college and now works for the Percy Hedley Foundation children’s charity. Writing Time to Shine was clearly a labour of love for him.
The former Whitburn Academy pupil added: “I’ve always been interested in engines and I’ve always loved writing. I wrote a bit of the story, then a bit more, then a bit more. After two-and-a-half-years I turned it into a manuscript.
“Initially I sent the publishers parts by email. But then they asked me to send them the whole manuscript printed on paper.
“Eventually they invited me to visit them and meet their editorial team at their offices in Cambridge and we agreed a deal.
“They were really impressed with it.”
Time to Shine is available to buy online in all good bookshops and, as Dan mentioned, “a few bad ones too.”