My BLOG is an interview with debut children’s author – Jennifer Killick;
my WRITING ARTICLE is about using concrete and abstract nouns;
I’ve ten WRITING PROMPTS for you; and more COMPETITIONS to enter.
Do let me know what you think – of any of them!
I know I waxed lyrical about a book and an author last month (Jeffery Deaver’s The Steel Kiss) but I’m going to wax lyrical about another author and book this month: Jennifer Killick’s debut novel for children Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink.
Jennifer is one of my really good writing friends whom I met on the Creative Writing MA course at Brunel University five years ago. She’s been kind enough to spare me some time in the week after her launch to answer some questions.
How did you feel at the end of your launch day? My launch was a manic, nerve-wracking, exciting blur. I was so touched by how many people supported me, that the feeling I had at the end of the evening was like being in the middle of a big, warm, loving hug.
How long has it taken to first thinking of the Alex Sparrow idea to that launch? A rather horrifying-when-you-look-back-on-it six and a half years!
What were the highs and lows during that time? There were many lows, and lots of them carried over long stretches of time. The agent rejections were tough, along with the realisation that I would have to rewrite the whole story (several times!) Having a publisher really interested and close to signing me, only to decide not to take me on after all was also dreadful. At one point, I lost all confidence and stopped enjoying writing. That was the worst. Meeting Imogen Cooper of the Golden Egg Academy was life-changing. Receiving the email from my agent, Kirsty McLachlan, to say she would love to represent me was a joyful moment. And of course receiving my offer from Firefly made me dance around the house in disbelief and delight.
You have two children and three step-children. When and where do you find time to write? I can’t get out much so I write at home whenever I can fit it in. My youngest goes to nursery two mornings a week, so I get a lot done then. And once he’s in bed in the evening, my laptop is straight out. If I’m first drafting, I often get up at 4am to write before everyone else gets up. The kids come first, always, but every bit of spare time I can snatch, I use for writing. And of course, even when I’m not typing, my mind is hard at work.
Do you have any advice for would-be novelists? Other than being prepared to work hard and being ridiculously stubborn and determined, even when it seems as though all hope is lost, I think advice for writers should be cautiously given. Everyone’s technique is different, and everyone’s path to publication is different, so advice that’s too prescriptive can be disheartening. It’s good to find out how other writers work, so you can try things out if you want to, but what works for them might not work for you. The thing that I have found most invaluable on my writing journey has been my writing friends – people who understand the process and who have my back. People to share work, failures and successes with, and who make the tricky journey easier or more enjoyable. I couldn’t cope without them.
Thank you, Jennifer. And I’m sure everyone wishes you every success with your book. Happy Writing for the sequel! Jennifer’s book is on Amazon.
Have a good month’s writing!