It's pretty intense but I'm enjoying being part of the new season of books published by Fiction Express.
This is my first experience of writing for Fiction Express and whilst I knew other authors and had an idea of how it worked, you never really know how something is going to be until it starts.
What is it?
Basically, each week a new chapter of the book is launched online and readers vote on what direction they want the story to take. There's also an online forum where readers can chat to me and each other about the characters and the book in general.
You can find out everything you need to know by going to their website: Fiction Express. The video is excellent and explains everything very well.
It's very exciting and, having written for Serial Mash (part of 2Simple, Purple Mash) for many years, I'm used to writing to deadlines and to an outlined idea. However, these are extremely tight deadlines with literally hours to write in. Also, as the majority of readers don't have English as their first language, the level is less about age appropriateness and more about reading ability. This means content and story plot has to be as engaging for a young reader as it is for a teenager. Not easy but hugely rewarding.
My book, Alex in the Middle, is currently live on chapter two and readers are chatting about which character they would rather be at this point in the story and why. It's really fascinating reading all the different opinions.
I'm waiting to see which direction I am going to be writing in next. I hope they're thinking the same as me...
I've been busy helping the fantastic team at Writers & Artists organise the next event designed specifically for upcoming and unpublished children's authors.
Finding the Heart of Your Story is a mini conference held at the Bloomsbury Offices in central London. It is a highly prestigious, one-off event, which aims to get writers thinking deeply about the story they are writing. Answering the all important question of Why Me and Why Now?
The event is on 25 November 2023 9-3pm at Bloomsbury, London
Two, highly acclaimed children's authors, Emma Norry and Robert Tregoning will be workshopping and there will also be the chance to ask questions to Bloomsbury commissioning editor(s).
If you book before the end of September you will be able to claim the early bird discount. Just use HEART 99 when checking out. But hurry as places are really limited.
For bookings and to find out more visit the website: Finding the Heart of Your Story with W&A
I've had the amazing news that Call Me Lion has been selected by UKLA for the long list of the 2024 Book Awards in the 7-10 Age category. As you can see, it sits alongside a collection of amazing children's books. I'm absolutely thrilled and feel completely honoured to be part of this list.
The books are all chosen by librarians and teachers and are titles that offer not only storytelling but also aim to give wider discussion and learning opportunities.
If you would like to find out more about the awards, or perhaps you're thinking of getting involved, please visit the website: UKLA Book Awards
It is always encouraging when I hear from someone who has benefited from something I have posted, or has enjoyed an event I have been a part of. A couple of days ago I had an email (I won't name the person as I haven't asked for their permission to do so) from someone who had read a previous blog post. They had found it useful, particularly when considering how to write with sensitivity. In addition they suggested another post which had also been helpful to them.
I went on and took a look and I would recommend a read for anyone who is grappling with the idea of how to write with respect and sensitivity.
You can read it by following this link: https://www.websiteplanet.com/blog/sensitive-writing-guide/
Thank you to XX for reaching out to me and I'm so glad that I was helpful to you.
I bit the bullet and had some professional photos taken. If you're an author reading this and thinking of doing the same I can highly recommend Rebecca Cresta We had a lot of fun and it was more affordable than I expected. This is my favourite and probably the one I will use most, but the other three are on my website and if you search hard enough you'll find them.
I was thrilled with Whatever It Takes asked me to take part in their Authors on Tour initiative for 2023. I was allocated to half day visits in two different primary schools in Leicester. The first was Rolleston Primary School in Glen Parva. It was raining heavily when I arrived and unfortunately the security of the school stopped my presentation from being loaded. I had to do my author talk from memory which was a first. It all went well and even the staff joined in with the dancing!
Next it was to the North side of Leicester for my afternoon visit with Sandfield Close Primary School. Luckily the presentation worked fine and the children were thrilled to meet an author in the flesh as they'd only had virtual visits before. It was one of the biggest workshops/masterclasses I have ever delivered as the whole of Y3 and Y4 wanted to take part. We did some fun empathy based exercises and used Call Me Lion to think like writers. I like these before and during photos of the school hall.
A huge thank you to the staff and pupils at both schools for welcoming me so warmly and for embracing Call Me Lion. It was a total joy to talk to so many of you who knew all about Leo and I even met a real life Richa who spoke Gujarati. Wonderful! Thanks again to Whatever it Takes for such an incredible programme. Hope to work with you again.
I am delighted to be taking part in Authors on Tour 2023. On Tuesday 20 June I will be visiting Rolleston Primary School and Sandfield Close Primary School, both in Leicester. Can't wait!
Welcome to my blog, a place where you can keep up to date with what I am up to.