Wednesday, 21 January 2015

My first post - by Anne Booth

My First Post for an Awfully Big Blog Adventure

Hello! I can’t quite believe this is happening. It seems only yesterday when I was on an Arvon ‘Writing for Children’ course with Linda Strachan and Cathy MacPhail, but in fact it was back in 2010 - four and a half years ago.

Linda and Cathy can be seen discussing it here:

I was on that week. It was wonderful. It was great to learn from Linda and Cathy, and to hear the work of the other writers and to write some things myself. I knew already that I loved children’s books - I had an M.A. in Children’s Literature, had been a bookseller, and had four children of my own ranging from 13 to 10. However, the love I felt for children’s books, combined with the awe I felt for those who wrote them, meant that I hadn’t dared to think I could write any of my own stuff. It was ‘having a go’ that week, and the encouragement and detailed feedback Linda and Cathy gave us all, that gave me confidence. I felt at home in that world, where it was normal to discuss pirates and monsters, for example, and see events through children’s eyes! I remember Linda talking about the Scattered Authors’ Society and am so amazed and happy that I am a member now myself.

There were many wonderful writers on that week, and on another subsequent week run the next year by Joyce and Polly Dunbar at Lumb Bank. I hope that all of us get published eventually. My own breakthrough came in 2013, when Nosy Crow Publishers accepted my picture book text, which is now ‘The Fairiest Fairy’, due to be published in June this year.  I am overwhelmed by the loveliness of Rosalind Beardshaw’s illustrations!

2013 is also the year when my lovely agent,  Anne Clark , took me on. This transformed my life! It led to my novel ‘Girl with a White Dog’ being published by Catnip in March 2014, and me writing ‘Lucy’s Secret Reindeer’ for O.U.P. , published in October 2014. Now, in 2015, ‘Dog Ears’ will be published in April for Catnip, ‘The Fairiest Fairy’ (Nosy Crow) in June, and ‘Lucy’s Magic Snowglobe’ (O.U.P.) probably in October. There should be another Nosy Crow picture book for Christmas too, but perhaps that’s for 2016.

Next month I will be 50! This time last year I had no books published, and suddenly, by the end of this year I will have had 5, maybe 6! It feels like when you are waiting at a bus stop for ages, (in my case = years!) and then suddenly all the buses come at once!

So my message to anyone out there reading this, who loves reading children’s books so much that they do not not feel worthy to write them is - go on - have a go. It’s never too late. Sign up for a course with people as inspiring, encouraging and enthusiastic as Linda and Cathy, Joyce or Polly. Follow writers and  illustrators and agents and publishers you like on Twitter - I have had such lovely conversations with fellow enthusiasts - and found out about so many wonderful children’s books there. It was because of Twitter that, without an agent at that time, I submitted to the new publisher Nosy Crow in the first place. It is because of Twitter that I learnt that a new agent, Anne Clark, was looking for clients. There are THOUSANDS of amazing children’s books out there waiting to be discovered on all sorts of subjects, by all sorts of authors, for all different age groups, but there’s always room for more!  There’s a world of loveliness to enjoy as a reader AND as a writer, and if you’d like to combine the two - GO FOR IT! It’s the best job in the world!

And if you are an experienced writer like Linda or Cathy, please think about being a tutor. That course changed my life.

Anne Booth @Bridgeanne on twitter


Sue Purkiss said...

What a lovely post! Good luck with all those new books, Anne.

Jan Jones said...

So very pleased for you, Anne :)

Linda Strachan said...

I'm so delighted to be hearing about your success, Anne.
I remember how much I enjoyed talking to you about your writing and your story ideas up in Moniack Mhor.
It's great to see how all your hard work and perseverance have brought you to this point.
Well deserved congratulations and I'm looking forward to seeing all your new books when they come out!
Lovely first post on ABBA, too.

Emma Barnes said...

Lovely to read such an inspiring post!

Penny Dolan said...

Such a pleasure to read such a positive and happy post, Anne!

Catherine said...

I really enjoyed reading your inspirational story Anne. Congratulations on all your writing success. We love Lucy's Secret Reindeer :)

Mavis said...

Congratulations. I was on that course with Cathy and Linda and I started my first children's novel during that week. I recall we had to write an end paragraph, which I did, and it's there, virtually unchanged in my first published novel, Cry at Midnight (Cinnamon Press 2014). The first book in The Hagstone Chronicles will be followed by Clickfinger, this year and The Snake Wand next year.You're right. It was a great course, the best Avon Course I've ever been on.

Linda Strachan said...

Thanks, Mavis

Cathy and I had a great time that week and you all worked so hard, and so well together.
It's been wonderful to see your successes too, Mavis!

Alistair Lane said...

Thanks for posting this, Anne. I have been reading a lot of "reality checks", or "nature of the business" articles lately... makes a really refreshing change to read something so unashamedly positive!

Best of luck with all of your (many!) new books

Anne Booth said...

Thank you to everyone for the lovely comments.

Mavis - I've just bought your book on kindle - it looks great and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Sheena Wilkinson said...

What a lovely post, Anne. Like you, a week at Arvon changed my life back in 2007, when I attended a YA course with Lee Weatherly and Malorie Blackman. I started the week as a hobbyist; I ended it determined to be a professional writer. Several books later, I have been back to Arvon many times, and am now an Arvon tutor. I love hearing of other writers whose careers include Arvon -- there are lots of us out there! I am still in touch with some lovely, talented writers from a week in 2011 with Celia Rees and Linda Newbery.