A quick round up of the books I am looking forward to in 2013 for the children’s book fans out there. For some reason my picture downloader isn’t behaving, apologies for the lack of book covers. I’ll add them when I can.
It’s looking like a good spring so far, with some strong debuts from Irish writers and some interesting picture books also.
Curse of Kings by Alex Barclay
A very good historical fantasy – which I’ve just reviewed for the Irish Independent – once the review is published I will post it here. I liked it very much.
The book is out in late January.
Captain Underpants Number 10
Yeah, the great Captain is back.
If you child loves the Wimpy Kid, try these – they are excellent and so funny.
Queenie by Jacqueline Wilson
Set in a 1950s children’s hospital, my daughter (and I) are very excited about this one.
Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
I haven’t read this one yet, but my friend in children’s books, the lovely Kim Harte rates it highly and I look forward to reading it.
Darren Shan has about 200 Zom-B books out this year – the first in January. (It’s …
I was at a 40th birthday in London recently and I got talking to the band – lovely Scottish lads called The Holy Ghosts.
They have been working their wee socks off, playing gigs and parties all over the UK and Europe. They’re super, their lead singer has buckets of charisma (and an amazing voice) and I know they’ll make it because a/ they’re determined b/ they’re damn good and c/ they’re putting in the hours.
I told them the story about The Beatles playing in Hamburg that I first read in Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. In the book Gladwell explains the 10,000 hours rule – how if you put in the time and work hard, success will follow.
In a nutshell The Beatles performed live in Hamburg, Germany over 1,200 times from 1960 to 1964, amassing more than 10,000 hours of playing time. According to Gladwell the hours and hours that The Beatles spent performing live shaped their talent. He quotes their biographer Philip Norman who said ‘So by the time they returned to England from Hamburg, Germany, they sounded like no one else. It was the making of them.’
Gladwell also talks about Bill Gates and how …
It’s a book that I really wanted to write, and luckily my agent and editor were keen on it too. But sadly this isn’t always the case in the publishing world. Sometimes you may be gently nudged (or blatantly asked) to write a book that is outside your comfort zone.
Depending on the market you may be asked to consider trying a vampire romance, issue based romance/popular fiction (think Jojo Moyes or Sinead Moriarty), ‘mummy porn’, a misery memoir . . . And even though your heart may not be in it, you might be tempted to give it a go. And if you do, and you can make it work, and even enjoy the experience then good on you. And let’s be honest here, maybe you really need the money and that can be a strong enough motivation in itself – many fine authors have written to pay the bills, nothing wrong with that.
But my honest opinion is this – life is too short to …
To plot or not to plot? That is an interesting question. Over the years I have realised that it very much depends on what type of person you are.
If you are a planner – if you pack days before going away, if you know exactly where your passport is before travelling, then you’re a planner and you may need to plan your book.
If you pack the hour before leaving for the airport, if you hate planning anything weeks or months before it happens, than you’d probably think planning would kill your book’s spontaneity. And for you it might do just that.
So if you’re a planner like me – you need to plan. I’ve also interviewed a writer who is not a planner – the wonderful Martina Reilly – so you have both views.
So first, Martina’s answers:
Martina, how much planning do you do before starting a book?
I do no planning at all. I tend to get an idea of what I’d like to explore. In my next book ‘What If’ I had a few things I wanted to write about. The first, a moment where a life is changed forever (a …
I’ve been writing this ‘Yours in Writing’ blog for many years now, and I would like to thank all of you for the fantastic feedback and regular comments both here and on Facebook and Twitter. It means a lot to me.
To say thank you, I’d like to address some topics that YOU have asked me to cover. The first – and yes, probably the easiest – is my writing routine. When do I write? How many words? Computer or long hand?
Over the next few weeks I will tackle the other questions I’ve recently been asked – on planning books, getting published for teenagers, what editors are looking for right now and other subjects. If there is something that you would like me to cover, you only have to ask.
So – my writing routine. And thanks to Claire Hennessy for the question, a very experienced writer herself.
Here’s a map of my writing day:
7am Rise (groggily) and get the kids to school.
8.30am Get home and start thinking about what I have to do today.
Potter around the house avoiding work, ‘tidying’, opening mail, checking emails, Twitter and Facebook (terrible I know but best to get it over …
This piece first appeared in the Sunday Independent
When are you going to write a proper book – a book for adults? It’s a question every children’s writer is asked at some stage of their career. I started out writing for children, switched to adults, and now write for both. When the inevitable question was put, I’d explain children are the most discerning audience of all, children’s books are challenging and fun to write, and any author who doesn’t try it at some stage is missing out.
I am only one of a host of authors who write for both children and adults. J K Rowling’s debut adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, a dark comedy about local politics will be published on 27th September, quite a risk for someone with such a successful track record in the children’s book world.
Roald Dahl also wrote for adults and children, as do contemporary award-winners Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman and most recently, Philippa Gregory. The American crime writers like James Patterson are all at it; and ex-SAS man Andy McNabb has produced a popular action/adventure series for younger readers.
Under the Hawthorne Tree was an international hit for its creator, Marita Conlon-McKenna, …
Apologies for the lack of recent blogs, I was helping to run the Mountains to Sea Book Festival and taking some much needed time off. I wrote the following blog in August, before I sent my new proposal to my agent. More on this at the end.
For weeks now I’ve been worrying about a book proposal. Is it good enough? Will my agent like it? Will my publishers like it?
I’ve published 23 books now and it never gets any easier. The doubts are still very much there for every single book or proposal.
I worked hard on the proposal, on getting every detail right – the series title (it’s a new series for girls of 9+), the title of each book, the girls’ names (there are 4 main characters), the plots for each of the first 3 books, the setting; especially the setting. I started reading widely on the subjects covered in the plots and added details to my proposal.
I wrote some of the first book, then rewrote it many times until I was happy with it. Only then did I send it to my agent. She read it and gave some suggestions. I took those on …
How To Contact a Writer by Claire Hennessy
Recently Sarah Dessen talked about getting an obnoxious email from someone when she didn’t reply to someone to help with a book report. It didn’t surprise me. Sarah Dessen obviously gets bucketloads more fan mail than, well, most of us, but this happens. It does.
Recently I had a conversation with another writer about getting sent manuscripts to read (‘tell me if it’s any good!’) from people out of the blue, and how to deal with that. This happens too. And it’s tricky in all sorts of ways.
I think there’s a lot fuzziness out there in the world about what is okay, and what is not okay, to contact an author about. And the ease of communication – social media as well as email – means it’s so much easier to get in touch, and easier to have a sense that you’re owed a response. (‘She RTed me that time! Why has she not read my manuscript and sent it …
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