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Last updated: 19 July 2007 1728 BST
Brothers' tale of invention hits book shelves
Jamie and his brother Gordon.
Jamie Webb with his half-brother Alexander Gordon Smith

An 11-year-old from Norwich has just released his first book - which he's helped to write with his older half-brother.

The Inventors has been brought out by a top publishing company, after Jamie Webb and Alexander Gordon Smith came second in a national children's book competition.

Read Lydia's review of The Inventors and tell us what you think too

There can't be many 11-year-olds who can stroll down to the local book store and see their story stacked on the shelves - but Jamie Webb is one of them.

The Norwich schoolboy has helped to write a children's adventure book, called The Inventors, with his half-brother Alexander Gordon Smith, 28, who is known to his friends as Gordon.

The story has just been brought out by a top publishing firm, Faber And Faber.

Although The Inventors has made it into the shops, Jamie has had a hard time persuading his friends that he's telling the truth about it.

"None of them believe me, although my close friends do," said Jamie, "even though I went to school with The Inventors T-shirt and a proof copy.

"I've told them they'll be able to go into the shops and have a look on the shelves - it's really annoying!"

Pick of the class

Jsmie Webb.
Jamie tries out an experiment in the lab.

Soon, though Jamie's school friends will all get to know about The Inventors as his teacher has asked the young author if she can read the book out to his class.

Someone else who is proud of Jamie - and Gordon - is their mum.

"Mum's more thrilled than us. She keeps asking the people in the book shops to put the book in the window," said Gordon.

The Inventors made it into print after coming second in a national book competition, which was judged by a panel including TV presenters Fern Britton and Phillip Schofield.

The idea for the book came when Gordon had a dream about an evil genius.

The next morning he raced round to Jamie's house and they started work on turning the dream into an action-packed tale.

Race against time

When Jamie saw a book competition called Wow Factor in Waterstone's in Norwich they decided to enter the first three chapters of their story.

But soon they had a race on their hands. The competition organisers phoned to say they liked the story but needed a whole book ready within a week so it could be entered.

Jamie likes inventing gadgets and making things like rockets, so for the next seven days he stayed up late, to write paragraphs of the book and help Gordon with ideas for the story and tell him what the children in the book might think and say.

After they finished their writing marathon Jamie's mum made him go to bed early for a week so he could catch up on all the sleep he missed!

"Pure adventure"

The Inventors book cover.
Jamie's name has made it onto a book cover - even though he's just 11!

Gordon describes the book as a "pure adventure" with the baddie Ebenezer Saint a bit like Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka.

The action starts when keen inventors Nate and Cat win a scholarship to stay with the world's best inventor Ebenezer, but they soon find out that they will have to outwit him if they ever want to see their families again.

While Gordon is a talented writer, he's not much good when it comes to inventing things, so Jamie had to come up with some good ideas.

"If we were the same age we wouldn't have written it," said Gordon. "The book wouldn't have been the same without Jamie."

Change of direction

Although Jamie did want to be an inventor when he grows up, he's now changed his mind.

"I used to want to be an inventor and now I'd like to go into acting," said Jamie.

The brothers hope their book could be made into a film.

"I'd like to play Nate if it's picked up for film," added Jamie.

For now though Jamie is sticking to writing - a follow-up to The Inventors is planned for release next year and Gordon is also writing another children's book.

It's a busy time for Gordon, who studied at the Hewett School in Norwich and the University Of East Anglia.

He is about to bring out his second book on creative writing - after collecting lots of tips while working on The Inventors.

He also writes stories for the X-Files Magazine and set up his own publishing company, called Egg Box, before letting someone else take over the running of it.

The Inventors is published by Faber And Faber and is suitable for children aged 10 and above.


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See also

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Other book reviews:

Review: The Inventors

Review: Keeper

Review: Red Moon

Review: The Giant Under The Snow

Review: Half Blood Prince

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