THE imaginations of several south-west children were unlocked when NJ Cameron took her Silver Key series to Warrnambool West Primary School for Book Week yesterday.
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The Melbourne-based author introduced the second instalment in the series, The Guardians of the Key, to grade three to six pupils and Warrnambool mayor Jacinta Ermacora as part of a country Victoria tour.

Cameron, a former Warrnambool woman, said she was experiencing “second book nerves” and hoped it would be as well-received as its predecessor, The Beginning.

The five-part series follows Max Moon, who discovers he possesses the super powers of the Silver Key, and his adventures with sister Bea and friend Corky.

Plot, setting and character ideas were inspired from a short story Ms Cameron wrote in year seven at Brauer College called Blue Streak and the Leech.

A trip to Scotland several years later cemented her passion for writing and she left a position as an IT contractor to take it up full-time.

“I had so many stories buzzing around in my head,” she said.

“It was so much fun writing them all down.

“I realised that’s actually what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Cameron developed the pseudonym “NJ” to disguise her gender and develop credibility writing about super heroes in order to appeal to a wider range of readers, particularly boys.

“And I always wanted to have a fancy pen name,” she laughed.

The book tour, also stopping at Princess Hill, Beaumaris, Moonee Ponds West and St Monica’s primary schools, was part marketing angle, part chance to receive “instant feedback”, Cameron said.

“I wanted to see if the audience actually liked the product,” she said.

Warrnambool West Primary School principal Gavin Arnott helped Cameron, whom he taught when she was in grade four and five at Woolsthorpe Primary, organise a writing competition for the pupils.

Silver Key, available from Warrnambool Books, is a junior fiction series aimed at primary school-aged readers.

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Nicole Cameron, author of the Silver Key children’s books, chats with Warrnambool West Primary School pupils Alissa Holmes, 12, and Katie Roberts, 10.

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