Boro Books 3: The Disappeared by Amy Lord

We’re back with another Boro books post and we’re super excited about this one! We know, we know, we’re super excited about them all, but what can we say? We love books, we love Boro, it’s a win-win all round! And this one is pretty special – not only do we know Amy from Ten Penny Dreams from when she joined us on our Instameet, but there’s a way for you to be part of this Boro book, yep, YOU! Intrigued much? Read on to find out more! 

The first thing we’re going to do is let Amy introduce herself to you all and tell you about her book, The Disappeared. When we can’t contain our excitement levels, we’ll pop some comments in which will probably be accompanied by lots of exclamation marks, because that’s just how we roll. Over to you, Amy. 


Amy Lord

My story is a little different to some authors: my debut novel will hopefully be released next year, by the crowdfunding publisher Unbound. But first I’ve got to raise enough money to make that happen, by encouraging potential readers to back my campaign [that would be you, dear blog readers…]

Most people have been surprised to learn that you can publish a book via crowdfunding, but it’s becoming more and more common. Unbound was one of the first publishers to crowdfund all their books.

It means that they can release books on a wider range of subjects, or from new and unknown authors [Boro books for the win!], or books on very niche subjects that might not otherwise be published. Crowdfunding also makes the reader a part of the journey – by supporting an author’s campaign, they help bring the book to life [we are DEFINITELY on board with this].

Some very popular books have been released this way and one of Unbound’s novels even made the long-list for the Man Booker Prize!

My novel, The Disappeared, imagines a future version of the UK run by a military dictatorship. After terrorism destroyed the government, the First General took over, slowly stripping away the rights of his citizens.

It’s in this crumbling world that Clara struggles to get over the disappearance of her father when she was just 11-years-old, after he was arrested by the Authorisation Bureau for teaching banned books to his students. She too becomes a teacher and decides to fight back against the regime, but the only weapons she has are the banned books her father left behind. And when one of her students disappears, she is plunged into a nightmare, afraid that she might be next.

[Cue levels of high excitement as we get to show you an exclusive extract from The Disappeared below!!!]

“That last night with my father was like every other. He returned late from his job at the university, where he lectured in English Literature. Public transport was unreliable in those days, when the regime was still taking hold. He would walk the five miles home each day, carrying his bag, heavy with papers. I would watch from our sixth floor window as he made his way across the car park, past the burned out shells of old hatchbacks, where the braver children would sometimes play army, machine gunning each other with sticks or old bits of piping. His ragged hair would take on a life of its own in the breeze, his thin shoulders tensed beneath the weight of his students’ words, twitching uneasily at every fake bullet that came his way.”

I first had the idea for The Disappeared over a decade ago, starting to write it properly in 2013. Since then it’s been through more than half a dozen drafts and picked up a Northern Writers’ Award along the way.

One of the biggest changes I made was to beef up the character of Clara’s stepfather, a Major in the Authorisation Bureau and the man who arrested her father. Clara and the Major take turns to narrate the story, but it’s his voice that turned out to be my favourite. Writing from the perspective of the villain really allowed me to get under his skin and show him as a real person, with his own desires and fears, not simply the bad guy who the reader can hate.

Crowdfunding the book has been an experience so far. It’s been exciting and nerve-wracking all at once, but it’s such a thrill every time someone pledges to the campaign. It’s especially exciting to see a name I don’t recognise and know that someone has chosen to buy a copy of my book based on the description alone.

[We don’t normally make a habit of stating the obvious, but for any of you needing to buy a special, unique Christmas present for that book lover in your life, what could be better than supporting an author?! Think of all those brownie points…]

Find out more about The Disappeared, by Amy Lord and all the details/options for how to pledge your support via Unbound


To get to know Amy better and stay up to date with all her exciting news we recommend checking out her blog, Ten Penny Dreams. She blogs about books, writing, travel and life in the North East. We love it so obviously we’re going to tell you to go and have a read. And you guessed it, of course we’re desperate to read The Disappeared! Come on you pledgers, go go go! 

Boro’s Top Ten Books!

News just in! The polls have been counted and we can finally reveal Middlesbrough’s Top Ten books, as voted by YOU! We’re so excited ❤️

In case you don’t know what we’re talking about, catch up with all our Boro Reads posts first:

What exactly is Boro Reads?
Boro Books part 1: The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper 
Meet our young bloggers! 
Our young bloggers tell us THEIR favourite book  
Superheroes in Boro?! 
Middlesbrough Libraries staff talk books! 
The Love Middlesbrough Lasses take on the summer reading challenge!  
The day our young bloggers met a real life author! 

So now you know how much we love books…it’s time to let you know what the Top Ten Boro books are *drum roll*

  1. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
  2. The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
  3. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  4. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  5. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  6. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
  9. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  10. Holes by Louis Sachar

The reason we’re so excited about the top 10 books being announced is that they are going to be turned into beautiful book benches that you’ll be able to visit (and sit on!) in Middlesbrough’s community hubs and libraries! 😍 

Book bench

And it gets better than that – children in Middlesbrough are being invited to take part in the creative workshops to help design and decorate the benches…wahhhhhh! Where do we sign up?! Ha! Just kidding – you don’t have to sign up at all – children of all ages are welcome and there is no need to book a place. 

The first workshop will take place at Central Library on Tuesday 10th October (3.30-4.45pm) where any children taking part will bring (are you ready? We can’t even breathe, we’re so excited!) HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE to life. HARRY POTTER! Cue complete and utter fangirling from the Love Middlesbrough Lasses. 

Harry Potter

The next workshop is at North Ormesby Community Hub on Thursday 12th October (5.15-6.45pm) where children taking part will design a bench for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 

alice in wonderland

We can’t wait! See you there!!