Another great school visit and my first time with working with students in years 8 and 9. The visit was a complete surprise to some students, who has been rewarded with the Creative Writing Workshop for making such a good start in the new year.
The reason that I am pointing to my band T-shirt (CHIC) is that the visit coincided with Radio 6's Wear Your Band T-shirt To Work Day #TshirtDay
You can catch me next at The Royal Albert Docks on Saturday 7 December at the Children's Book Fair which runs from 2-5pm.
I've got two half an hour sessions where I will be chatting about my books, doing a couple of readings and answering questions. I'll be around for book signings too.
The event is totally FREE for anyone to attend and there are other authors there too.
To find out more please click on this link: Royal Albert Docks
You can read about how I am now officially a success story of the Write Mentor programme by clicking on this link: Write Mentor
If you don't already know about this organisation and you're a budding children's or young adult writer then I can't recommend it highly enough.
Write Mentor has many different aspects to it and allows you to take a step closer to becoming published. Here's what their website says:WriteMentor started as a small, voluntary programme to help writers of children’s fiction take the next step in their writing career. Since, it has grown and we now offer paid mentoring (via Spark), weekend workshops across the UK, our 15 week intensive online courses, the Children’s Novel Award and our exciting online conference, WOW-CON! WriteMentor is highly inclusive and we endeavour to make all of our opportunities as affordable and accessible as possible. We regularly offer scholarships and free opportunities, so do keep an eye out for those.
It's well worth taking a look. I enrolled onto the SPARK programme, which is paid mentoring. It was very affordable and everything via email so easy too. You get access to all kinds of additional information and support, and every month you can bypass the slush pile and apply directly to the SPARK agents.
I'm really happy that I took part. It made a big difference to me. You can read more about my experience by reading my interview: Write Mentor Interview
Since I am now officially a Patron of Reading to a primary school outside of Peterborough (more to come on that beauty of a story) I thought I should let you all know what I've been reading lately.
As you know, all writers read all the time and I am no exception. I've usually got at least one book on the go, quite often two or even three! I listen to a lot of audio books, but I do this through my local library. Audio books are really expensive, but most good libraries will use a system that allows you to listen through your phone for free. My library uses Borrowbox. Not all the books I want to read are on there, but sometimes this is a good thing, as I end up listening to stories that I wouldn't normally have done. This is one of the things that makes libraries so great.
At the moment I am listening to The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay, having just finished listening to Jasmine Skies by Sita Brahmachari and before that Release by Patrick Ness and before that The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess and before that Chasing Stars by Malorie Blackman and before that...and before that...
I tend to buy quite a few books, both paperbacks and for my kindle, but I also borrow them from the library and from friends and family. At the moment I am reading Not My Fault by Cath Howe, having just finished reading The Goose Road by Rowena House. The other books in the picture are ones I have recently finished reading.
I'm always reading an actual book, but not always listening to one. I have to be careful what I'm reading and/or listening to when I'm working on my own writing as it can influence my work. The only time I might take a short break from reading, is if I need a breather after reading something that has affected me strongly and I want to process it before I move onto something new, or if my own writing needs my full attention. There is always so much to read and I have a stack of books in my house waiting for me.
As you can tell, I love reading!
You might be aware that as a rule I don't tend to review the books I have read on my website, but, if I like them, I usually review them on Goodreads. If it's a book by a big name author and I haven't enjoyed the book I will sometimes still review them on Goodreads but I know how damaging bad reviews can be so don't tend to leave negative reviews for lesser known authors who need the sales!
I wonder what you're all reading at the moment and whether it is a book you would recommend. If it is who do you know that might like to read it too? Books can be such a personal thing and what I like is not always what my friends or family would like. That's why I try not to worry if some children don't like my stories.
Happy reading everyone!
For those of you who have not had the chance to see it yet, here is the interview I did with KidLit TV at the SCBWI Conference in early November.
I have added a new section to my website on the Competition Page called Show Cases.
This is a space dedicated to budding young writers who want to share their stories, poems and ideas.
To have your work considered for the Show Case Page, you will have either been gifted the opportunity, won it in a competition or have sent me something that I really wanted to share.
If you would like to take part, please contact me using an adult email address.
To find out more and read the first contribution (a 500 word story entitled Maybe The French Aren't So Bad After All by Soraya Enayatollah in Y7), please visit my show cases/competition page
The last two photographs were taken at the Mass Book Launch, Fancy Dress Party. I'm Red Riding Hood (obvs) and, in case you don't recognise him, the poet dressed as the March Hare is the wonderful Joseph Coelho. Just take a look at that cake - that is how good the SCBWI conference is.
I'm still tired from the conference, but as always afterwards I feel honoured and privileged to be a part of the SCBWI tribe.
The crazy story of James of Lincoln is now finished. You can listen to the whole story by downloading the BBC Sounds App and searching for The Storyteller. Or you can click on this link: The Storyteller
BBC Sounds is my all-time favourite app so it's amazing that I am part of a podcast on it. I feel this means I can say 'writer for the BBC' on my CV now?!
There may be something happening with this story in the future - I'll keep you posted!
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