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Never too young: the eight-year-old Sunshine Coast boy who's sprouting a dream

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At just eight years of age, Lincoln Rawlins has become one of Australia’s youngest published authors.

His debut book, the colourful Sprout’s Idea, will not be officially released until next week, but it has already gained national attention with celebrated Australian writer Andy Griffiths endorsing the title.

Griffiths is the author of the much-loved children’s Treehouse book series.

Sprout’s Idea follows the story of a young seedling who inspires much older forest trees to work together to overcome a veil of negativity that plagues their home because of Shade Man, the story’s villain.

“I love a good villain and there is no one as villainous as Shade Man,” Mr Griffiths said in his review of the book.

The author’s backing is not to be taken lightly – the Treehouse series has sold more than 10 million books in Australia alone, and Mr Griffiths has won 10 Australian Book Industry Awards.

The honour of this endorsement is not lost on Lincoln, who was determined to get his book in front of his idol.

“It’s made me really excited and really happy because I’ve read all of his books, the whole Treehouse series,” he told Sunshine Coast News.

“We have sent each other messages but we haven’t had the chance to speak just yet because he is so busy.”

Lincoln’s mum, author and ghostwriter Roxanne McCarty-O’Kane, said her son’s determination was inspiring.

Young author Lincoln Rawlins with his mum, fellow author Roxanne McCarty-O’Kane.

“He’s taught me a huge lesson that taking chances pays off,” she said.

“From the moment Lincoln decided to transform his story into a children’s book, he declared that Andy Griffiths should read it.

“I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him that Andy probably had better things to do, so we reached out to him and he has been incredibly supportive.

“Lincoln has inspired me to act whenever inspiration strikes.

“It is really exciting that he had a dream and followed it through immediately when so many people have magnificent stories and sit on them for years and years and years.”

Sprout’s Idea began as a short story that Lincoln was invited to write and present at the Sunshine Coast Secret Oasis Festival in March.

He met the brief – to write a tale that would inspire hope for a brighter future.

Lincoln then gathered his courage and read the story to a crowd of more than 100 people.

“It made me excited and nervous at the same time. I liked that a lot of people laughed and enjoyed my story,” he said.

“It made me really happy.”

Encouraged to turn his story into a more substantial page-turner, Lincoln refined his book  over eight versions.

Together with the help of his mum, he then found Sydney-based illustrator Cara Ord to help bring Sprout’s Idea to life.

The project took five months from start to finish.

“The illustrator and I worked together a lot at the start to make sure the characters looked like how I had them in my mind,” Lincoln said.

“I asked her to change a few things and then once she started to send me a few pages each week, I barely had to change anything. She just got me.

“I’ve never had a big dream to write a book, but it just happened.

“I felt very excited when Mum said we could do it, it was like eeeee!”

Lincoln said he hopes that his book will encourage readers to think about the words they speak and their action towards others.

He will launch Sprout’s Idea at a Birthday Book Launch Celebration at The Lakehouse in Mountain Creek on August 18 from 5.30pm.

The event, which will also include the launch of his mother’s book The Mindful Author, will be held just two days before his ninth birthday.

Tickets are available at http://www.roxannewriter.com.au/book-launch/ and copies of Sprout’s Idea are available for pre-order at www.sproutsidea.com.

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