Thursday, 15 March 2018

Feminists & debutants: Yay! for the Class of '18 - Rowena House

By this time next month I’ll be a published novelist. What an amazing thing to be able to say! It’s a lifetime’s achievement and a temporary licence to swamp my Twitter feed with stuff about me and my book.

The Goose Road shares a book birthday with Elaine Wickson’s Planet Stan: My Life in Pie-charts. (Who knew pie-charts were comedy gold?) Since I met her at SCBWI-BI’s fantastic debut author boot camp, I’ve drooled over her exuberant website and laughed out loud at her humour. Planet Stan is going to be fantastic fun.

Ally Sherrick’s The Buried Crown also hits the bookshops on April 5 – a World War II adventure with Anglo-Saxon treasure. What’s not to love? Ally and I met through Histeria, a band of intrepid kids & YA historical novelists raising the profile of our genre to librarians, publishers and anyone who’ll listen. Ally also pointed me in the direction of an opportunity to teach a session on historical fiction at the Winchester Writers’ Festival in June – which I’m doing. Hurrah! It’s my all-time favourite writing conference (soz, Scooby). Ally, I owe you a big bottle of fizz as well as sincerest thanks.
April 5 is also publication day for Jess Butterworth’s When the Mountains Roared, another exquisite MG title in the mould of her debut, Running of the Roof of the World. Jess graduated from Bath Spa’s MA in writing for young people the same year as me. Our year – like every other – is an invaluable support network, sometimes called Team MAWYP, at other times the Bath Spa Mafia. Be warned. We’re out there. A lot of us – including two Bath Spa lecturers publishing novels on April 5 – Lucy Christopher, with Storm-wake, and To the Edge of the World by Julia Green, director and guiding light in the creative hothouse that is this MA.
This week I’m in London to raise a glass to the success of fellow Scooby boot-camper, Matt Killeen, and meet a lots of writing friends at the same party. Ye-ha! Orphan Monster Spy boasts a stonking premise: Jewish girl spy infiltrates elite Nazi high school for girls. Awe. Sum.
Salutations, too, to Walker stable-mate Kelly McCaughrain, author of Flying Tips for Flightless Birds, who deserves a massive readership for both her book, also launched this month, and her honest, wise, charming blog, Thank you, Kelly. Your words buoyed me no end through a recent patch of the blues.
I could go on. There are so many dedicated, determined, professional authors celebrating debuts this year, like Lucy Van Smit, whose Nordic noir YA thriller, The Hurting, is a lead title for Chicken House at the Bologna Book Fair. Vanessa Harbour’s wonderful horses in Flight. Tracey Mathais, with her UK trade debut, Night of the Party, a dystopian YA political thriller which I think judges the zeitgeist just right. And Liz MacWhirter, whose Black Snow Falling promises themes of feminism, monsters and power seen through the prism of 16th century magical realism. Talk about tantalizing!
And just behind those of us lucky enough to have got our book deals are excellent writers working with their agents on amazing manuscripts, like MA bestie Eden Enfield and multi-talented creator of #UKTeenChat, Emma Finlayson-Palmer. And tenacious writers who just got their agent. Here’s looking at you, Kathryn Kettle MacDonald. Well done!
The next rung of the ladder is so close, people.
So very best of luck to everyone honing their craft with critique groups, mentors or alone, and still finding time to take part in the super-supportive, informative, kick-up-the-butting, thriving, teeming, healing, online community of writers for young people. You rock. We rock. Being part of this tribe is amazing.
The Goose Road, a First World War coming-0f-age quest set in France, is available now for pre-order now on Amazon, via high street bookshops or through my website:


Penny Dolan said...

What a triumphant collection! Well done, all of you!

Rowena House said...

Thank you, Penny. There is such talent around atm, across a huge range of genres, too.


Thanks for the shout out Rowena! Very best ofluck with your wonderful debut, looking forward to reading...and the launch parteeeee!!

Rowena House said...

Can't wait to see you in print, too. And yeah, parteeee :o)

Anne Booth said...

Congratulations to all!