I am doing a Meet The Author - Christmas Special - at Harpenden Library on TUESDAY 18 DECEMBER 4-5.30PM.
It will be a chance to find out everything and anything that you've ever wanted to know about being a Children's Author, and if you'd like to, you can grab yourself a special, discounted, signed copy of one or more of my books.
For those of you who don't know Harpenden and would like to come, please note that there is very limited on street parking but there are several nearby car parks and the train station is only a 5-10 minute walk away.
It would be great to see you there!
I have also recently read The Time Travelling Cat (and the Egyptian Goddess) by Julia Jarmen, Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead, Warriors - Into The Wild by Erin Hunter, The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech, Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh's Curse, See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng, The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo, The Cradle of all Worlds by Jane Doe, The Wild Magic bit Celine Kiernan (Raggedy Witches), The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce, Frozen in Time by Ali Sparkes, The Great Blue Yonder by Alex Shearer, The Curse of the Nomed by BB Taylor, The Hurting by Lucy Van Smit and I am re-reading Shine by Candy Gourlay. I have just started The Golden Acorn by Catherine Cooper. I've read a couple of adult books too but they don't count! Told you writers read a lot!
What about you? Are you reading something Christamassy yet? Getting excited?
So far I have given away 21 copies of my books signed as Christmas presents for kids in care. Are you one of those kids? Be great to hear from you, but make sure you use an adult's email address if you want to contact me.
I'm hoping to give away some more, but don't forget you can always buy a copy of one of my books and have it signed to you or to someone you know as a special Christmas gift. Just click here: buy books
Big weekend this weekend because it is the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators annual conference in Winchester. This year my training is over and I am officially the Front of House Coordinator. Gulp.
If you want to see all the shenanigans you can follow it all on Twitter using the following handle: #scbwicon18 AND/OR you can watch it live streaming. Yes! This year KidLit TV are filming the conference highlights. If you watch really carefully you might spot me.
Conference makes it sound boring, but because it is all about children's books it is definitely not boring. During the party we all dress up and this year's theme is 'Travelling Through Time' so I bet there will be some crazy outfits.
Very excited - can't wait!
Here's the link to find out more about the conference: SCBWI Conference 2018
And here is the link to watch it: KidLit TV
I've been reading more grown-up books, like Hag Seed by Margaret Atwood but I have also just finished the first book in the Polly Pym series. This one has a red cover (I listened to the audio book, so can't post up the cover here) and is called Polly Pym and The Phantom Curse. It was really fun! If you want to read it for yourself the author is Laura Wood.
It is great listening to stories and something I remember doing as a child too. We had the Just So Stories on story tape and I remember them vividly.
Do you listen to stories? Do you still enjoy being read to?
I have an app of my phone called BorrowBooks which means I can borrow all kinds of audiobooks for free from my local library. A friend told me about it and I use it all the time. I love listening to stories as it feels like I can read and do other things at the same time - like walk all my lovely dogs!
I've been reading adult books. Tomorrow I go on the local radio to review Wolf Hall which is a really fat book all about Thomas Cromwell. Have you heard of him? No? What about Henry VIII? Yes? So Cromwell was around in the Tudor times, advising the King Henry and trying to keep him out of trouble.
Wolf Hall was one of the hardest books I have ever read. Some of the recording for the radio, we'll probably talking about how reading can be very challenging and whether this is a good thing or not.
Have you ever read any books that felt too difficult?
Did you keep going or did you give up?
Do you ever keep thinking about books or characters after you have finished?
What about if you give up on a book - do you ever go back and try again?
Sometimes I think that it isn't to do with how old you are, it's also what kind of mood you are in or what else might be happening in your life at the same time.
Think about what you are reading now... is it a funny book? Did you choose it because you needed cheering up?
I haven't just been reading, I've been writing too. I have just finished another book for Serial Mash. This one was called Bramble the Bold. It's about a lamb, just like the one in the VW TV advert - Born Confident. Do you know it? Ideas for stories can come from all over, we just need to learn how to catch them. I'm off to catch some more!
If those names alone aren't enough for you then think of all the skills workshops you can do such as: school visits, Nielsen knowledge, illustration promotion, agent submission, plotting expertise, pitching practice and historical fiction.
Mostly though, it's about meeting, making or catching up with people who 'get you' because they too are up to their eyes in the crazy, beautiful, wonderful up and down world of creating books for children. It is fun, useful, inspiring, motivating and just the best weekend EVER! Last chance to book is 2 November. Do it! Here's the link: SCBWI Conference
Quick reminder that TODAY I am at Harpenden library from 5pm as part of the National Libraries Week celebrations.
If you're local - pop in and say hello.
Just read an fantastic article all about how we judge our own success and failures as a writer. If you want to read it click here: An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.
From it I have decided to write my writing goals. If I blog them here then it becomes more real and when I (hopefully) achieve them I can read this back and feel all smug and self-satisfied.
1. To see a stranger reading one of my books in public (ideally a train)
2. To have someone I've never met tap me on the shoulder and say, 'Are you Camilla Chester?' - actually this has kind of already happened in the Oxfam shop down the road, so maybe in a bigger place like um, St Pancras Station?
3. To win an award - shortlisted twice is pretty fantastic, but I want to win one!
4.. To get an agent (yes I am doing all this solo)
5. To have at least one book traditionally published (yes, I'm doing all this solo)
6. To sell books overseas
7. To see one of my books in another language
8. To have a book in hardback
There are lots of goals that I have already achieved:
1. To do a book signing
2. To visit a school and a library as an author
3. To sign some scrappy bit of paper just because someone has asked for my autograph
4. To hold a book I have written in my hand
5. To have someone tell me how much they enjoyed reading a book I have written
6. To get nice reviews
7. To connect and become friends with other children's authors
8. To go to a award event because I have been shortlisted
And the one constant goal that I hope I am continually doing is:
TO GROW AND IMPROVE ALL THE TIME AS A WRITER
In the words of Dory from Nemo: Just keep swimming (writing), just keep swimming (writing)
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