THE heroine in Tony Flood's new book is being hailed as a possible successor to the Harry Potter adventures.

But Tony, a 66-year-old former Whitton and Hounslow resident, accepts that even if his first fantasy adventure story, which is being published this month, turns into a series he'll never match the earnings of JK Rowling.

Tony, who lived in The Ridge, Whitton, until last year and now works as a sub-editor with a national paper, said: "I want as many children and adults as possible to enjoy discovering how 10-year-old Jody Richards goes off to the magic land of Tamila in search of her kidnapped brother James. She takes on the forces of evil as a cruel witch places a spell on her and an evil wizard turns her newfound friend into a frog."

Tony, a former sports and entertainment writer who has interviewed Muhammad Ali and Britt Ekland, added: "Anyone trying to get their first book published has got to be persistent and not be put off by rejections. JK Rowling had countless rejections, but she is now said to be earning almost £3million a week.

"Her Harry Potter books have sold more than 370 million copies so persistence pays off. But new authors have to be realistic and accept they may not make much, if any, profit from their first book."

Tony and his wife Heather, who has written several short stories for young children, are both members of a writers group.

He added: "I would urge would-be authors to join a writers group.

"They can obtain many tips from both guest authors and members on improving their writing and how to submit their work to agents and publishers. And they will be given the encouragement they need to keep alive their writing dreams."

Among those who have hailed The Secret Potion is best-selling East Sheen author Jessica Duchen, who said: "Readers pining for more magic post-Harry Potter need look no further: Tony Flood has conjured up all the wizards, witches goblins, pixies and spiders you could want, and quite possibly the world's worst monster."