March 4 2015 Latest news:

An alien race invading earth to harvest humans, people being eaten and schoolchildren fighting to save the planet...

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The blood-pumping plot of Michelle Howes’ first published novel is a long way from her day job as a school lunchtime supervisor, but that is exactly when the idea struck.

“I was standing in the playground one lunchtime, and I’ve no idea why, but I imagined a spaceship coming over and sucking everyone up,” said Michelle, who grew up in Caister.

“I never really know where these ideas come from - maybe it’s because we live quite near the East Midlands airport and we get planes flying overhead.

“Sometimes it’s just an image, but that image can stick. And once the seed is planted, it won’t go away; it niggles and so you go back to it.”

Former Caister Primary and Caister High student Michelle, moved away from the coast a few years ago and now lives in East Leake in Nottinghamshire with husband, Glen, and children, Pippa, 11, and Alex, 13.

“Another main theme of the book is looking at our attitudes to food,” said Michelle.

“We look upon a lot of animals as food we farm, but what if someone looked at us like that. What if we were treated like cattle. It changes the way you think about food and where it comes from.”

Feed tells the story two 14-year-olds who must stop an invading alien race from harvesting humans for food.

“Taken, frozen and eaten – this is the fate facing the human race from enemy invaders”, declares the chilling blurb.

It is Michelle’s first book to be published, but by no means her first story.

“I’ve been writing since I was a child and I’ve been writing stories on and off for a while now, but this 
is my first to be published 
so it is very exciting,” said the 43-year-old.

“It’s very difficult these days with so many people writing. The chance of getting published is narrow.”

But her advice to anyone with a burning desire to write a book?

“Go for it, keep trying,” she said. “I went to a writers’ conference in Winchester where I had a one-to-one with a publisher, just 15 minutes. But he said he liked it and wanted to see more. We kept in contact and it went from there. I was very lucky.

“It is hard when you get rejected, it can knock you right back. And I don’t have a particuarly thick skin. I think I heard there is a two per cent chance of getting published and they are tough odds.

“But the one thing I would say to others who are trying is don’t give up trying to get published. If you keep going, there is always a chance.”

Feed, described as Alien meets Independence Day for a Charlie Higson readership, is published by Chicken House and is out now, priced £6.99 (ISBN 978-1-908435-96-5).

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