Sarah Wray

The Belfast writer releases her latest book for teenagers. Click Play Audio for a podcast with the author

When 15-year-old Luke Sheldon is offered a place at an American summer camp for smart kids, he thinks he's in for the trip of a lifetime. Surrounded by forests and built above a labyrinth of underground tunnels, there is more to Camp Hope than meets the eye. 

Are the rumours true that three campers disappeared a few years earlier? And why does camp leader Captain Budd refuse to talk about it? 

The Trap When Luke starts to find coded messages in his dorm he thinks it is a silly game - until one of his friends is attacked. Too late he discovers that he has been drawn into a horrific trap that could cost him his life.

So reads the promotional synopsis for The Trap, Belfast author Sarah Wray's latest book for teenagers.

At 232 pages, it's a relatively concise book, and shorter than Wray's début novel, The Forbidden Room. But The Trap still packs a dramatic punch.

A fast-paced tale of intrigue and survival in the American outback, it's an evident progression for the English-born author in technical terms, with a tighter plot structure and more subtle characterisation than her first outing.

The Forbidden Room was published in 2006 by Faber & Faber after Wray won the Waterstone's Wow Factor children's book competition, organised in conjunction with Faber and ITV's This Morning television programme.

Now, almost two years after winning the competition, Wray releases her second book with a huge sigh of relief.

'Winning a well-publicised book competition like the Wow Factor didn't mean I was home and dry,' admits Wray. 

'Trying to convince publishers to take on a book without such backing is a difficult thing to pull off. I had two other books rejected before Faber agreed to publish The Trap. It was a big relief when they decided to take it on.' 

Since winning the Wow Factor, life hasn't changed much for the mother of three. Having written ten unpublished books before The Forbidden Room, writing has been something for which Wray has always made time.

'When The Forbidden Room was published I had to do a lot of publicity. I was on television and radio. I The Forbidden Roomremember the day the book was launched I did so many interviews, I was on BBC Newsline and Arts Extra. It was a mad experience. After that I just got back to writing.

'I've had my fair share of rejection from publishers, like all writers, I suppose. But I've always continued to write. I love it.'

With the likes of JK Rowling and Philip Pullman enticing children and teenagers back to bookshops with their coming-of-age tales of adventure and discovery, the teenage book market has never had it better.

Although Wray has ambitions to write for adults and younger children in the future, for the time being she's comfortable churning out the teenage thrillers.

'I tend to write stories aimed at teenagers, as that's what I most enjoy writing. In the future I would like to write for adults, or even for younger children. But most of my ideas feature children in perilous situations. My next book is about an Irish girl who finds herself imprisoned on Iceland. But let's see how The Trap goes first.'

Lee Henry

The Trap is available for purchase on the Amazon website.