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.
http://nosycrow.com/books/the-fairiest-fairy 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 www.bridgeanneartandwriting.wordpress.com @Bridgeanne on twitter