While her peers were fretting over the Primary School Leaving Examination, Rachelle Toh spent her free time holed up in her bedroom imagining an enchanted realm. And writing about it.
Now the 14-year-old is a published author, with a generous heart. Her novel, The Call For Allegiance - Quest, the first in a planned trilogy, was launched at her primary school, Haig Girls' School (HGS), last Tuesday. All proceeds will go to charity.
Rachelle's 170-page novel, which took eight months to write in 2010, details the adventures of three Singaporean teenagers after they are teleported into the enchanted realm.
Her interest in fiction writing was sparked at the age of nine after chancing upon the children's book series Hell's Underground by Briton Alan Gibbons.
"Writing helps me to relieve my stress and keeps my imagination alive," said the teenager, now a Secondary 2 Dunman High School student.
Her novel's publication was sponsored by her parents for about $7,000. Her father, 47, is a business consultant, while her mother, 49, works in the education sector. Both helped to edit the novel,
Proceeds from the sale of the book, which will retail for $13.80 at major bookstores by Nov 30, will go to her church and HGS' creative arts programme. But 40 per cent will be for cancer research at the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore. The disease last year claimed her schoolmate, aged 17.
HGS principal Constance Loke said: "Rachelle is proof that you are never too young to make a difference in the community."