It has been a year since I became a published children’s writer and what has changed?
Well lots actually.
Most importantly, I have a book out! Hurray! Hurrah! Whoop whoop! It’s in the shops and EVERYTHING.
I have a brilliant agent – Ben Illis, a lot of great writer friends, my own website, bookmarks with MY book on them. I even have a small, messy (but much loved) writing shed in the garden. A multitude of things have happened in this last year that I could never have dreamed would happen to me and I genuinely feel that I’m the luckiest person on the planet.
When I got the email telling me that Firefly wanted to publish my book I felt a bit like I was six years old and had eaten too much Space Dust / popping candy / anything incredibly fizzy. I jumped about like Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout and only stopped when I was in danger of actually throwing up.
Cut to some months later and I held my very own book in my very own hands and it felt…erm… a bit weird in all honesty. I sat for a long time flicking through the pages and thinking, ‘Well this is odd.’
It was about six months later that it actually sank in. It took people crossing the street to tell me how much they’d enjoyed it. Mother’s coming into the local shop to ask for copies of it. Lots of workshops with some very fabulous and creative children to make it actually seem real.
Now I’m lucky enough to have a second print run of my first book on the way – with a beautiful new cover…
… and a publishing deal with Firefly Press (who have extremely good taste in literature) for my second book ‘Gaslight’, Spring 2017. I am having ALL of the excited feelings all over again. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. Bounce, jump, bounce. *Almost vomits again*
So I can continue bouncing I thought I’d let another Firefly author, Jennifer Killick, tell you what it feels like to her to have her first book coming out next year:
‘I have always wanted to write a novel, but it was only after the birth of my first son that I really got going. I applied for an MA in Creative Writing, intending to work on some women’s literary fiction (the more tragic the better), but during the course of the MA, I tried writing a children’s story and everything changed instantly. Over the following six years, I acquired a husband, three step-children, two kittens and had another gorgeous baby, and through all that time I wrote, and rewrote, and rewrote again. I joined the Golden Egg Academy, and finally, with their help, I signed with an agent – Kirsty McLachlan at DGA – who secured me a publishing deal with Firefly Press. The novel – MY NOVEL (!) – that is going to be turned into an actual, real book, is called ‘Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink’, and its life began as that first short story I wrote all those years ago.
It’s tough to describe how I feel about being published without using all the cliches – over the moon, on top of the world, dream come true, etc. I feel proud that my hard work and determination has culminated in the best possible outcome. I feel lucky that I managed to write something that publishers are looking for at the moment (I realise now the importance of timing). I feel grateful to all the people who helped me along the way and to Firefly for being so enthusiastic about my story. I feel excited about the next steps: the edits, the cover, the launch, the school visits – every single bit of it. If happiness was sunshine, I would be blinding people wherever I go. I know there is a lot of hard work ahead – that there will be highs and, inevitably, lows – but I feel ready to take on any challenge and I just want to enjoy every moment.
‘Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink’ is a middle grade adventure story. Alex Sparrow is a human lie-detector. Whenever he hears a lie, his ear farts; only he can hear it but everyone can smell it. Jess Lawler can communicate with animals, but when she listens to their thoughts, her body spasms uncontrollably. Alex and Jess have nothing in common, but they find they must work together to find out why, one by one, the children at their school are changing; becoming cringingly polite and perfectly behaved. With the help of Bob, Alex’s obsessive compulsive goldfish, the race is on to expose whoever is behind the chilling transformations. In a world where kids’ flaws and peculiarities are being erased out of existence, Alex and Jess must rely on what makes them different to save the day.’