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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Sunshine, Summer and Marvellous Meetings

Well, it's been a very busy authorly week.

Not only was I treated to the fabulous Teens on Moon Lane event (blog below) but on Friday my lovely agent Jenny Savill threw a glorious picnic for her blossoming list of children's authors - Sunshine, smoked salmon, strawberries, and lashings of interesting conversation and laughter as we mingled with each other and the editors and scouts who'd been invited along to enjoy the fun. Some faces I knew - the lovely Sara Grant and Nick Cross from Undiscovered Voices (though he thought I was Karen Ball!) and some I felt I knew already from Twitter - the writer's social life! -  Keren David and I had had a lengthy debate the day before over whether Nadal or Federer made the best eye-candy - neither of us like Murray (sullen schoolboy) and I am halfway through my (now signed!) ARC of Almost True, sequel to the amazing When I Was Joe.
Other writers had come from further afield - glamorous Carina from Germany and Nigel had an awfully adventurous journey from Ireland - and it was just a wonderful occasion to get together as a family, a supportive and inspiring group at various stages of our careers from the published to the aspiring and everyone in-between. For what can sometimes be a fairly solitary profession, it was a real treat - thank you Jenny.

Then it was off to Foyles to catch up with fellow UV08 winner, the effortlessly charming Sarwat Chadda, fresh from the launch of his Devil's Kiss sequel, Dark Goddess. We whiled away a few hours discussing scary things like vampires, werewolves, US airport security, deadlines and school visits (the scariest of the lot!) and I listened hungrily, and I have to say a little enviously, as my books won't come out for another two years! Still, plenty of time to do all that editing!

Oh, and write the second novel - which I now have a deadline for! Yes, on November 1st 2011 my second book is due. This is very scary as:

a) I'm not sure what this'll be...

b) I have 4 editors so I really hope they AGREE what the next book is going to be, and

c) it took on-and-off SIX YEARS to write the first one - and I have 80 pages of edits on Someone Else's Footprints to do before I can even think about anything else! Help!

Still, it would be scarier not to have a deadline, I suppose - as I am a strong believer that editing never finishes - a book can ALWAYS be improved on every subsequent reading, so left to my own devices it would probably NEVER be finished. Probably part of the reason it's taken six years to get this far. And any job security you can get in this profession I'll grab with both hands and a contract thank you very much!

Then on Monday Mum and I had a meeting with a children's publishers based in the next village! Now, you have to understand my village has one shop, a post office, a hairdressers (of course) and that's about it, so to find a children's publishers in the next village is pretty incredible. It was so lovely to go in and chat to real live publishers, and have a chance to actually pitch our picture-book ideas - so often the manuscripts just get emailed off with a covering letter and a wish and a prayer and you never get to meet the people who read them unless they actually want them(!!) - and especially now I have an agent I'm even more removed from the process - so to have the chance to get a bit more hands-on and actually meet and pitch and discuss ideas with editors and get instant feedback about what worked/what didn't and what they liked/didn't like was glorious and so refreshing.

And inspiring! Since that meeting I've had four new ideas for picture books I really don't think I would've come up with without the buzz of that meeting. Whether they're any good or not remains to be seen... But fingers crossed!

Back to wishin and hopin' :)

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