She who started it all.

Emily Rodda

Where do I even begin with Emily Rodda? Ask anyone who went through primary school in Australia about the books that they read during that time, and one of her books is bound to come up. She is one of those quintessential figures in Australian childhood (at least in my opinion) because of the hundreds of stories she’s written for children and young adults. I first discovered her in year three, when I was eight, through the Teen Power Inc. books, now reprinted as Raven Hill Mysteries. I’ve already written about these books in this post, but here’s the premise from wiki.

The series revolves around six teenagers who have set up a part-time job agency, Teen Power Inc. (changed to Help-for-Hire in the republished editions) to work for cash before and after school. Usually, their jobs end up getting them into trouble and each book in the series generally revolves around one main mystery for the gang to solve; with the narrator being the crime-solver. The gang consists of: Richelle Brinkley, Sunny Chan, Liz Free, Nick Kontellis, Tom Moysten and Elmo Zimmer.

I love these books so much and I hope to one day own them all. These are the earliest books I remember reading, and I think they started it all for me. I can see the influences this book has had in my own writing especially in the way I seem to always write about a group of different people working together. Seriously, I started writing when I was ten. I’ve got this old usb (so old, it’s only 128MB) filled with all the stories I’ve ever written and every. single. one. has a group of teens as the main characters. It’s interesting to think about. As I’m writing this, I’m only now realising how much books can affect an individual. So many things are making sense now. Like how the setting of these stories — Raven Hill — gave me a fascination for actual ravens and birds in general. More often than not, I consider putting a bird in my own writing. Now I know where my interest in martial arts came from: Sunny, my favourite character, was a student of Tae-kwon-do.

Earlier this week, I actually found the first book in the series, The Ghost of Raven Hill, as an audiobook available through my local library and had one of the biggest niggest nostalgia hits of my life.

Page: 1, 2, 3, 4

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