As we gear up for the weirdest Christmas ever, I thought I'd let you all know what was happening in the writing world of Camilla Chester.
The best thing, for me, to come out of this terrible pandemic has been The Hairy Godmothers. Renamed from The Zooming Aunties by a predictor text error within our WA group, THG have been my saviours. We are a group of SCBWI writers who, after the cancelled Writing Retreat in March, have been meeting daily via Zoom to support one another. THG is an additional bonus, different to my original SCBWI critique group, and consists of (please make a note of the names as you'll want to check out their existing or forthcoming books) Mandy Rabin, Susan Bain, Sarah Broadley, Kathryn (Kitty) Kettle, Charlotte Teeple Salas, Linda Nelson and Suzie Wilde. It has been wonderful reading their work, having their fantastic critique support, and being involved with their lives. I feel very privileged to be part of such an empowering group. They are all names to watch. (e.g. Mandy was shortlisted in the Chicken House Competition this year, Kitty's debut The Boy I Am is released in March 2021, Suzie's third novel in her trilogy is currently being crowdfunded through Unbound) and I'll keep you posted to what happens with us all.
THG have been helping me to continue to shape For The Love of Lambs. I'm doing the final stage of editing before the teen love story goes off to my agent, Laura West at DHA, for her thoughts. Having been quite happy with it, I've now progressed into thinking the entire book is total rubbish and needs to be stashed away in a darkened cupboard. This self-doubt is quite normal and part of the process, so it won't stop me sending it to Laura (and then convincing myself she hates it).
As for, Call Me Lion (about the boy with Selective Mutism) - this book is still on its journey. I'm confident it will find the right home and will be a story that you'll hear a lot more about, but everything takes time and I'm learning to be patient.
I've completed my online Picture Book course with City Lit and have some ideas outside of the dogs that I'd like to work on when I have time.
For my next major project I've put in a Grant Application to the Arts Council to see if I can be paid to research and write a MG novel about a young carer. It's potentially really exciting, but no school visits means I'm looking for other ways to fund my writing. I'll know by mid January if I've been successful or not.
That's my writing news!
Oh and if you're buying books as presents this year, please use the online Bookshop rather than Amazon as it offers authors and bookshops a much fairer deal. Thanks and have a good one!
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