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Matthew, 15, publishes his first novel

PUBLISHED: 15:59 12 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:27 16 September 2010

Teenage author Matthew Reeve

Teenage author Matthew Reeve

Adam Lazzari

Meet 15-year-old Matthew Reeve, one of Britain's youngest authors.

His first book, a science fiction novel called The Red Dragon - A New Evolution was published last week.

Meet 15-year-old Matthew Reeve, one of Britain's youngest authors.

His first book, a science fiction novel called The Red Dragon - A New Evolution was published last week.

Matthew from Sculthorpe has already written, but not yet edited, a sequel, entitled The Red Dragon - Flesh and Fire and is working on two other science fiction novels, Steel Shadow, about an assassin, and War Soul, about an alien planet that is under attack.

Matthew was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the age of eight and a year later he was taken out of state education and taught at home by his mother, Kay.

The only work he enjoyed at school was writing an occasional short story or poem.

He said: “I enjoyed the process of learning at school, but I didn't enjoy the people who were teaching me or the people I was sitting next to, and they didn't enjoy me.”

People with Asperger syndrome typically have difficulties in social interaction and often display intense interests in a particular subject.

Matthew's was reading, and it was not uncommon for him to read two novels in one day.

His father, Denis, said: “When he was eight years old I watched him fly through an 80-page book in 20 minutes.

“I didn't believe he had read it so I went through it and questioned him about some of the things in the book and he remembered it all. That's when I first knew Matthew loved reading.”

Matthew says his favourite authors are J.K. Rowling and Garth Nix, and that reading other books had helped him with his own writing.

He said: “I have learned about how a novel should be structured and when and how to do things like bring up the tension or move the plot on.”

He added: “At the moment I spend anything from two hours to six hours a day writing and I see it as a hugely enjoyable hobby, but I would like it to become a long-term career.”

Matthew's mother is acting as his agent and publisher and The Red Dragon is available on the website www.lulu.com.

Matthew started writing the book when he was just 13 and it took him six months to write and a further six months to edit.

Mrs Reeve said: “When I first read it I burst into tears. I was very proud of my son, but the main reason was because I had become so involved in the story. I told him that I would kill him if he didn't write a sequel because I was desperate to know what happened next.”

She added: “The Red Dragon is a science fiction story about a half man half dragon, a bit like Spider-Man or Batman, but he has made it as realistic as possible through attention to detail in his descriptions of the characters and the places.

“The novel is also full of emotion and comedy.

“This is only the second novel Matthew's father has read in 18 years, but I know that he absolutely loved it. I watched him excitedly turning the pages more quickly as the plot unfolded.”

The book has even been given the seal of approval by Matthew's sister Heidi, 17, who admits to being a Simon Cowell-type critic.

There are several reviews on Matthew's own website, www.dragonauthor.com.

One reviewer, Will Turner, who is writer and producer of Renyard City Comics, states: “Matthew's book is charming, quirky and exciting. A proper adventure story that kids will love.”

He adds: “It is a classic feeling adventure story, told with a quirky, unique style.”

Mrs Reeve said: “We did spend some time trying to get the book published by a major publisher, but it is difficult for any new author, so instead of waiting for things to happen, we are making it happen ourselves.

“We are hoping a major publisher out there will notice Matthew's work and his career will take off. I'm looking forward to getting my cut when he becomes a famous author.”

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