Wednesday, February 23, 2011
So, here's how it goes, I read a book, I offer to do an author interview (or I'm asked to do one) - frequently a tough one. Well, ha! The table was recently turned on me and Kim Koning of The Dragonfly Scrolls asked if she could interview me! Me? Why me? How could I possibly be interesting, have something worth saying? Oh crisis of confidence! I hoped Kim would go easy on the interviewer...
I have to say, it was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Am now available for interview gigs. Any offers? Just kidding - for now...
So, if you want to learn more about my writery ways, what's influenced me along the way, how I work, where I work and so on, then take a look at Kim's interview with me.
Given that I'm still in a state of shock at the experience (not really, I'm just overwhelmed with other stuff), the interview will serve as this week's post! How's that for a neat cop-out?
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Writing is often a lonely business, yet I think one of the most heartening things about the children’s writing community is the overwhelming support which is shown to all. And the fact that it comes with friendship and camaraderie, which is offered unconditionally, makes it doubly worthy. I have said it before and will say it again, finding myself amongst the members of the British Isles chapter of the SCBWI (despite living on the opposite side of the planet) has been something of a homecoming. I find myself in a space where I am accepted, and amongst like-minded nutcases, I mean, people (oh and a few werewolves and crow collectors too). I love the way people encourage one another, the way they cheer for one another, participate in each others’ ups and downs. I think there must be a particular “thing” about children’s writers that makes them stand out from the crowd – perhaps it’s because children’s writers are still very connected to their own inner child and haven’t lost their sense of fun and wonder at the world. What I find fascinating is that this happens despite the fact that the world of children’s book publishing is tough and competitive. I think that being able to be competitors and friends at the same time shows a remarkable degree of emotional maturity – which I suspect many would believe children’s writers to be lacking. Not so at all. Some of the most insightful, aware and thinking people that I have met, come from the world of children’s writers – and I’m happy to call many of them my friends.
A particular case in point is my critique group who get a huge thumbs up for the support and encouragement they provide me and each other. (A note to all scribblers - if you are a writer or wannabe writer, get yourself into a critique group, make sure it’s the right critique group - and watch yourself and your work grow). My critique group, made up of outstanding writers, has an online existence, but we nonetheless get together to discuss work in progress, successes and even personal stories. We encourage, we nurture, we comment, we criticize (constructively, I hasten to add) in an environment of mutual respect and trust – and we all have one end goal, to write the best possible children’s fiction that we can.
I’m feeling particularly warm and fuzzy about my critique group at the moment. For the last few months they’ve trudged with me through the rewrite and edits of my current manuscript. They’ve told me what’s not working and what is. They’ve kept me going with constructive feedback given in the most positive and encouraging manner. With their help I’ve honed and polished - and then polished and honed some more. While I’m not naïve enough to think that the manuscript is perfect (is it ever that?), I know that with their input and support I’ve come away with something pretty decent. I know too, that because of them my writing has grown, as has my own ability to critique.
So, this isn’t really a blog post in the ordinary sense, this is really a thank you letter to my wonderful critique partners – for their insight, their good humour, their support, their caring and their sense of fun. Girls, may the journey long continue. Onward and upward - and economic circumstances and rhubarb-blah-fishpaste notwithstanding – here’s to publishing contracts, and maybe even awards!
My heartfelt thanks to Candy Gourlay, Ellen Renner, Kathy Evans, Jackie Marchant, Jeannie Waudby, Jeannette Towey and Carmel Waldron – and, until recently, Tracy Ann Baines and Beverley Johnson.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
There should be a blog post, I know there should. There hasn't been one for a while. Mea very, very culpa. I apologise. If you like, I could even manage a little grovel. But here's the thing, aside from being busy (manuscript editing, medical aid battles, house plans), I have nothing to say right now. And I'm of the mind that if there's nothing to be said, then, well, best say nothing.
That said, I will point you to another blog where I tell about one of my less pleasant paranormal experiences. What? You didn't know I had them? Well, now you do. Let it not be said that my life is dull...
Kathryn Brown from the Crystal Jigsaw blog, has recently created a new blog called Marvellous Mable, in which she posts tales of the paranormal as sent to her by friends and blog buddies. If you want to have a quick shiver, take a look at Menace at Midnight, a paranormal event which I experienced shortly after I had left home and moved into my own flat.