Read Search for a Star Online

Authors: Cindy Jefferies

Search for a Star

About this book

Ellie's thrilled to be doing work experience at teen magazine,
Heart
, even though life isn't all celebrity chat and fashion makeovers for the wannabe journalist. She's given the job of walking the Editor's pampered pooch, when she really wants to track down a famous author for an exclusive interview. But could the little dog help lead her to the star?

Contents

1 Holiday jobs

2 Sophie has some news

3 A question of pots

4 Drawing a blank

5 A breakthrough and heartbreak

6 Back to the park

7 Francesca takes control

8 Interviews

9 Sunshine and rain

10 At the Boat Show

11 Come back, Ferdinand!

12 Cornered

13 All is revealed

14 Another surprise

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Heart Magazine
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For sailor Paul, with love

It was the beginning of the summer holidays, and Ellie Ixos had six weeks stretching ahead of her. Some of her friends were looking forward to a lazy summer, with a bit of swimming, lots of parties and hopefully, if the weather was good enough, plenty of barbecues. Others, like her best friend Hannah, were planning on earning some money. Hannah was off to Spain with her mum, dad and older sister in a couple of weeks, and was determined to earn some extra cash by working in her aunt's shop before she went. She already had a list of things she wanted to bring back.

“Clothes are fantastic out there,” she told Ellie. “I need some new sandals, but I'm going to wait until I get there before I buy any. And last year I saw a brilliant leather jacket, but I'd spent all my holiday money, and couldn't afford it. This year I'm going to make sure I earn enough to buy one.” She looked suddenly stricken. “I hope I like this year's designs!”

Ellie laughed. “They'll have something you'll love, I'm sure.” She paused, thinking of Hannah enjoying her holiday, while she would be spending the summer at home in London. “I'll miss you when you go,” she said.

Hannah, who was lying on the grass in her back garden, sat up. “No you won't. You'll be too busy being a cool journalist at
Heart
magazine. With all the excitement of that you'll never miss me.”

Ellie gave her a teasing grin. “That's true.” There certainly were compensations for Ellie in spending the summer holidays at home, and she couldn't wait to get back to work at the magazine. It really was a job to die for.

Hannah pouted and poked her friend in the ribs. “Well!” Then she relented. “And that's fine. I don't mind. After all, I'm going to be having fun. And you'll need something to do to keep you out of trouble while I'm away.”

Ellie rolled over onto her stomach and picked a long strand of grass that the mower had missed. “Tomorrow,” she said, absently chewing the stalk, “you'll be stacking shelves, and I'll be fetching the
Heart
editor's coffee order. What glamorous lives we lead!”

Hannah poked her friend again. “You wait. By the time I get back from Spain you'll probably have appeared on TV, been invited onto some megastar's yacht, and interviewed all the most famous actors and musicians in the world!”

Ellie giggled. “Don't exaggerate!”

All the same, it
was
exciting to be going back to work at
Heart
. So far, Ellie had interviewed Pop and Lolly Lowther, the famous modelling pop stars, and had found herself on a photo shoot with Zone One, her absolute favourite boy band. She still felt a pang when she remembered how Al had looked deep into her eyes as he had sung to her. Her secret dream was that she would meet him again, and he would ask her out. She knew it would never happen, but all the same…

Reluctantly, she turned over and stood up. The shadows were lengthening, and it was time she went home. She gave her best friend a hug. “Good luck tomorrow.”

Hannah hugged her back. “And you.”

“See you online?”

“Of course.”

“Bye then!”

“Bye!”

Now it was the following morning, and Ellie was at the stunning office building in the city, where
Heart
had its home. On the way up in the lift she double-checked that she had the old notebook she always carried. It had belonged to her father, and she liked to think it brought her luck. It also connected her to him in a very special way, because he'd died before she'd been born. All through the notebook were helpful phrases he had written out for himself. The first, and the one that she liked best so far was
You can do this!

Ellie got out of the lift on the third floor and when she reached the lobby she changed into the shoes she'd brought with her to wear in the office. The Editor in Chief, Angel Makepiece, was
very
fussy about her white carpet, and about her staff too. Before going into the large, open-plan office, Ellie checked her hair and make-up. It would never do to look anything but as perfect as she could manage.

There was a new girl at the reception desk. She looked a few years older than Ellie, with long dark hair and beautiful, slanted black eyes. She looked at Ellie and smiled.

“Welcome to
Heart
,
the magazine to die for
,” she said. “Can I help you?”

“I'm Ellie Ixos,” said Ellie, showing her ID. “I've come to work for the summer.”

“Of course – Ellie!” the girl seemed delighted to meet her. “I'm Debbie Wu. I've heard all about you from Piano.”

“Really?” Ellie was sure that if Piano, or Pea-Are-No as she liked her name to be pronounced, had talked about her to Debbie, the conversation wouldn't have been very positive. Piano had always resented Ellie, right from the first day, when she had arrived for the work placement arranged by her Uncle Patrick, who was on the board of
Heart
magazine.

Debbie Wu glanced behind her, and then gave Ellie a knowing smile. “It's all right,” she said. “I've heard a bit from Francesca too. I listen to both sides, and can make up my own mind about people.”

Ellie shrugged. She hoped that was true. And maybe Piano had decided that, if Ellie was going to keep working at
Heart
, it would be worth her while being a bit nicer to her. If so, it would be a great relief to Ellie.

“Do you know if I have my own desk?” she asked. “Last time I used Piano's, but that was because she was on reception.”

“I'm pleased to say that you do!” Debbie looked almost as happy as Ellie felt. “Or at least, Angel and Francesca decided it would be a good idea to have a spare for freelancers, and while you're here, that means you. We've had a bit of a rethink in the office,” she went on. “And they delivered the desk last week. It's over by the window.”

Ellie looked, and realized that there had indeed been a few changes. The water cooler had gone, and in its place there was a new desk. It was right beside the window, so she'd have a wonderful view.

“Fantastic! Where is everyone though?”

“Piano and Francesca are having an editorial meeting with Angel in her office,” said Debbie. “I think they're trying to look at their work deadlines to see what they can do to make it a bit less of a scramble to get each issue out.”

“Deadlines can be pretty stressful,” agreed Ellie, remembering how tough it had been meeting Angel's deadline for her article about Zone One. Her day with the band had been brilliant, but writing it up under pressure hadn't been quite so much fun.

She went through the reception area, and over to have a look at her new workplace. The desk was blonde wood, with space underneath to store her laptop, and there were two little drawers to one side. There was a comfortable-looking chair, and when she gazed through the window she had a view of the office building opposite, and the street below. For a moment she stared down at the traffic. She could hear hardly any street sounds from here, three floors up.

She sat down, opened her
Heart
laptop and switched it on. Her email inbox contained a short, friendly welcome message from Francesca, the Deputy Editor, a similar one from Angel, that was so impersonal it had to have been used for every employee since Angel had become Editor, and another email entitled
Brief,
that also came from Francesca's address. There wasn't a welcome message from Piano, but then, Ellie hadn't really expected one.

It was wonderful that Angel Makepiece had decided they needed someone of the magazine's target age in the office, and even more wonderful that she'd asked Ellie to be that person. That, and the fact that she got on well with Francesca, more than made up for Piano not liking her. She clicked on
Brief
and it opened.

Your brief this summer is to list people that you think
Heart
readers would like to see featured, then contact and interview them! We already have an in-house list, but hope you might be able to add to it. Email me some names for us to discuss. Then we can decide who you should contact first. Make absolutely no approaches until after I've given you the go-ahead.

Ellie leaned back in her seat, her heart suddenly beating very hard. What a fantastic brief! She could think of dozens of people she'd love to read about…and meeting them would be even better. She didn't feel even the tiniest bit envious of Hannah and her Spanish holiday now. This was going to be the summer of a lifetime!

Her fingers flew over the keyboard as she scrambled to put down all her favourite band members, singers and film stars. She wondered if she really would get to meet some of them over the next six weeks. She knew that it could take a while to set up interviews, so there was no time to lose.

After half an hour she had a long list, and she spent the next few minutes arranging it so that her very favourite people were at the top. She knew she wouldn't have time to get through anything like all of them, so she might as well put the ones she liked best, first. As soon as she'd finished, she emailed the list to Francesca, feeling very pleased with herself. She looked at her watch and saw that there was time to spare before she needed to fetch the staff their coffee. She reckoned she'd done
really
well with her first job.

“Ellie?” It was Francesca, back from her meeting with Angel, and she was smiling.

“Hi!” said Ellie, beaming at the Deputy Editor. “It's great to be back.”

“It's good to have you back,” said Francesca, looking at her laptop screen. “And I see you've lost no time in getting a list of people back to me.”

“Well, I thought I ought to get on with it,” said Ellie, feeling pleased.

Francesca picked up a sheet of paper from her desk and offered it to Ellie. “This is our in-house list,” she said. “It looks as if most of the people you mention are already on it. But there are a couple we hadn't thought of.” She glanced at her screen again, and then back to Ellie. “Charlie Daniels…his name rings a bell but I can't place him…who is he?”

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