Purchase supports charities
For every book sold, D.M. Simon’s is donating 50p to each of two UK registered charities, Macmillan Cancer Support (number 261017) and Saving Sight in Grampian (number SC002938).
“I am delighted by D M Simons thoughtfulness to donate royalties to Saving Sight in Grampian,” said Chairman, Dr Iain Fraser. “When sight loss occurs it can prevent a person from working and has devastating effects on the quality of life and an individual’s morale. Saving Sight is working hard at the University of Aberdeen to find treatments for sight-threatening conditions such as diabetes and inflammatory eye disease.”
Thirteen-year-olds Nikki, Nathan and Lyle are camping on the tranquil island of Skye. However, evil has crossed the water and danger lurks close by from their very first night. In the blackness of a prehistoric underground chamber, Nikki’s torch lights up a screaming primitive face. The teens follow this strange being as it flees on two short legs. When cornered, it becomes aggressive then fearful, and Nikki soon discovers that it can understand but not talk. Unable to abandon the lost and vulnerable child-like creature, the teens try to find out where it belongs and what, in fact, it is. In so doing, they put themselves in terrible peril, since the creature, Cheeka, is being pursued by a ruthless hit-man, the Inflictor, hired by her evil creators to capture her dead or alive.
Though danger is closing in, Nikki finds she has feelings for Lyle, but dreads he’ll find out that she’s a freak like Cheeka. Nikki fears that Cheeka has already peered into her mind and learned her secret. She also suspects that Cheeka has healing powers and observes her mysterious link with the natural world. Despite this unusual form of wisdom, Cheeka is playful, innocent and stubbornly determined to do things her own way. Nikki and Cheeka are drawn ever closer, as the friends chase survival over land and water; through fog, fire and even kidnapping.
What kind of people are they running from? How could they create someone like Cheeka and yet wish her harm? They are the monsters, not Cheeka. Just how long can Nikki and the others evade the Inflictor before their luck runs out?
Genre and main characters
‘Keep Her Safe’ is a thriller/adventure that weaves hints of science into an action packed plot and is aimed at readers aged 9-12. The story is revealed through the eyes of thirteen-year-old Nikki, and it is she who develops a close friendship with the creature, Cheeka, whom she finds intriguing and appealing. In contrast, Lyle refers to Cheeka as a freak, a word that makes Nikki cringe. Secretly admiring Lyle, Nikki fears he’ll discover her secret and see her as a freak too. Eventually, with Cheeka’s help, Nikki learns that true friends accept you as you are.
This wonderfully original debut novel is an engaging read. It is a particularly moving and unusual story of suspense and intrigue with well drawn out characters with whom readers will be able to empathize. The scientific nature of the story and the ethical questions it raises will challenge readers’ opinions and encourage discussion.
Caroline Gibson, Principal Teacher and Education Development Officer
This is an original idea, written with a light and entertaining touch...but, my goodness, it’s gripping!
Gabrielle Rollinson, Continuing Education, University of Liverpool
Scientist turns author and raises cash for charity
A University of Aberdeen scientist and mum-of-four has successfully juggled work and a busy home life to pen her first children’s novel.
Keep Her Safe is the work of lab manager Dr Delyth Simons, and is a thriller for children aged 10 and over.
Delyth spent two years writing and polishing the page-turner, which sees three 13-year-olds encounter a strange human-like cloned creature during a camping holiday on the Isle of Skye.
“The idea for the book came to me when I was walking my dog on the dunes at Balmedie,” said Delyth, who has completed a couple of writing for children courses. “The story just seemed to come out of the dunes.”
Transforming the idea into a book that has been published by Troubadour and is available at Amazon, Waterstone’s and other retailers, was a major balancing act.
“I would get up really early at weekends and write and after driving my children to their various activities I would sit in the car and tap away on my laptop while they did their sports training or music lessons,” she added.
Delyth’s father and sister proofread the book and her children Hannah (13), twins Kevin and Jamie (15) and Kyle (16) were also a great support.
“The kids were very good at helping with the dialogue,” said Delyth. “If I’d written something that was a bit too 1970s they would laugh and come up with something better!”
When Keep Her Safe was published and copies were sent to Delyth’s home she was absolutely delighted although much of this was due to motherly pride.
“What I was most thrilled about was that the front cover of my book features a photo of the kids that was taken by my son, Kevin,” said Delyth.
“I’d sent him out one day to get shots of the kids running over the Balmedie dunes, silhouetted against the sky.
“When they came back Kevin used a programme to merge images together and shrank one picture of Hannah down to depict the mysterious creature in Keep Her Safe. I was so happy when the publisher agreed to use his creation.”
Delyth is donating some of the proceeds of book sales to one local and one national charity — Saving Sight in Grampian and the Macmillan Cancer Support.
“My mum died of cancer 20 years ago and she was really impressed by the Macmillan nurses who cared for her. Saving Sight in Grampian was also kind enough to support my post at the University for three years. I just wanted to give something back,” added Delyth.
Notes to Editors
Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.
Issued on: 03 June 2011
I really liked reading 'Keep Her Safe'. It was very engaging to read and the character and setting descriptions were amazing. I loved the way the feelings of the characters were described too. I thought the end of each chapter made you want to read more and I think that it is a good thing. I do not read many fiction books but I really thought this book was overwhelming. When there is a second book I would be sure to get it!
by Caitlin, age 11
“Keep Her Safe” is definitely one of the best books I have ever read. The characters are interesting and you can really relate to them. It is an exciting story with action and adventure that kept me gripped to the end. There are also some moving scenes which contrast well with the rest. I liked that it was set in Scotland as that is where I live. If you are to choose a book just choose this one!
by Craig Andrew age 13
I love it! It's GREAT. A stunning story full of excitement and adventure, taking you to places that you would have never dreamed of. This has been my favourite book and I hope that everyone else will enjoy it as much as I did.
by Isobel, age 10
An odyssey of action-filled adventure and intrigue. This thrilling novel
portrays an interesting and thoughtful insight n the world though another's eyes. You can really relate to the characters and the plot. The only thing lacking is a dull page! Whether you are eight or eighty you'll be sure to love this book!
by Olivia, age 12
‘This is a multi-faceted novel that caters for everyone. Animal lovers, Chuman lovers, fast car and science fiction fanatics alike will find it absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable to read. The end result is something akin to ‘Alex Rider meets Famous Five’. As well as dealing with the ‘problems’ of being a teenager, it also raises the (highly topical) question of the morality of stem cell research, and provokes us to ask us what constitutes humanity…’
by William, age 14
Keep her safe is an amazing read. It kept me reading on and on. Loved it and would like to read more of D. M. Simon's books!
I was very excited when my pre-ordered copy of ‘keep Her Safe’ arrived. I sat down to read it with a class of wine - bliss! Read it all in one night! I know it’s for teenagers but I think it’s a great book - really enjoyed it!
Dr Claire Turner, GP
by Dr Claire Turner
I thought this book was gripping. The suspense mounted and I stayed up late at night, wanting to know if Cheeka, who had been rescued by the professor would evade recapture or if the inflictor would finally hunt her down and place her back in the hands of her evil creators. I would recommend this book to anyone between 10 and 15 seeking an exciting read.
by Samuel Hay, 11
I have just finished reading D.M. Simons' excellent book 'Keep her Safe' and even at my age I enjoyed it very much and felt my interest held from start to finish. It should be a great hit with teenagers and I wish her every success with it.
by Anthea Paley, retired Occupational Therapist
Upon recommendation, I bought ‘Keep Her Safe’ for my granddaughter. As she was away, I had time to read it first. May I tell you what a good book I think it is - very exciting and with a touching ending that brought tears to my eyes. I hope DM Simons will have the time to do some more.
by Reg Macklin
Read the book in one night and it was very good. I think it is as much a boy's book as a a girl's.
by Colette Church
To D.M Simons
I met you at Countesswells (our sports day) where you were selling your book and donating some of it to charity. I absolutely adored your book -it was definatley my favourite ever book. I have read many varieties of books by different authors like Michael Morpurgo, J.k Rolling, Jaqueline Wilson, Lauren St.John and Erin Hunter and yours is my favourite! I love the description, the characters, the drama and the setting-beautiful. My favourite character has to be Niki-shes brave and caring. I am at the moment ten years old-almost 11 yet i loved your book so muuch! I could not stop reading and i couldn't put it down. Thank you so much D.M Simmons for writing such a wonderful and moving book. Please could you write a sequel! I am really suprised that more people haven't read your book.I am trying to raise awaremess of the book!
I'm finding it difficult to find words to describe how I feel about 'Keep Her Safe', but I'll try!! I was a bit apprehensive in case it was a difficult read or boring or too scientific or, or, or...well, I found it to be done of these, in fact I loved it. Simons is a very gifted writer and the adventure is exciting, imaginative, emotionally charged and she writes in such a style that it is very readable. Fantastic!! Congratulataons to her. I hope she has the next one at the very least forming, or formed in her mind and I look forward to reading it also. By the way, I cried while reading the last few pages!
by Irene (an adult reader)
I have really enjoyed your book and I can't wait till your next book comes out. My Nana sent it to me to read and I couldn't put it down once I started. I would really appreciate it if you could continue making books like this you are the best author. You are the best author ever (that I partially know). I am a huge fan. If I could be one of the young readers who reads your next book before you publish it if i could it would mean the world to me!!!!
by Courtney, age 12 (in Canada)
My husband and I have just read 'Keep Her Safe' and both have nothing but praise for the author. It was a fantastic read and as other reviews say - it was gripping! Not normally my kind of book at all but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will most definantly be recommending it to others. I was in an emotional state by the end with tears streaming down my face! Even my husband had to admit to a tear in his manly eye! It really is a credit to DM Simons! She is a fantastic writer and looking forward to more!!!!!
this is so exciting i cant put the book down!!! Lucy Hughes
by Lucy Hughes aged 9
I couldn't put the book down. It is a wonderful tale for all sorts of reasons: love, helpfulness, science, mystery and pathos. I had tears in my eyes during the final part of the story. It is a super young person’s tale (I'm in my second childhood) and I congratulate DM Simons in her writing.
by Martha, Grandmother from Perth
I am a cell biologist, trained in Glasgow, Vancouver and Oxford. I now live in Aberdeenshire with my husband, four children and many pets. Two years ago, while walking on Balmedie beach, ‘Keep Her Safe’ seemed to come to me out of the sand dunes. Writing this story has been a lot of fun and I hope that others will enjoy it too.