It was around this time of year in 2013 that I first started writing a story about a twelve-year-old girl called Henry who has moved to the countryside following a terrible tragedy in her family. I didn’t know at that point how it was going to end, but I did know that it would feature a mysterious forest, a secret attic, fairy tales, an asylum, a baby called Piglet and the poetry of John Keats…
I turned and stumbled out of the trees, gripping the baby so tightly that she jolted awake and cried out. I patted her and tried to laugh, pretending my clumsy panic had just been a game. ‘It’s all right,’ I said. Piglet whimpered, unconvinced. I looked back into the forest and saw a wraith of smoke drifting towards me through the trees. The sunlit leaves trembled with secrets.
I entered the first two chapters in a writing competition and, much to my amazement, I won the second prize. The competition was judged by a very lovely literary agent who then helped me to develop my manuscript and, when the first draft was finished, sold it to the wonderful children’s publisher, Chicken House.
That was around eighteen months ago. The last year and a half has involved several substantial rewrites, adding in new characters, removing sub-plots (and superfluous purple prose), bringing a character back to life (and then killing them off again) and, in the process, cutting a total of about 40,000 words. Phew!
All that hard work has paid off though, as I am now the ridiculously proud parent of an actual book. And I know I’m biased, but check out that front cover – isn’t it a beauty!!
The Secret of Nightingale Wood is now out in bookshops, available online and will soon be an audio book too – read by ME! Yippeeeeee!!!
Enter this month’s brilliant book giveaway to get YOUR free copy of The Secret of Nightingale Wood.
Follow me on Twitter @theLucyStrange or write a review on Amazon or Good Reads – I’d be extremely chuffed and would love to hear what you think!
x x x