I’m utterly thrilled to be taking part in the UKMG Extravaganza. This brilliant event is taking place at the Nottingham Central Library on the 17th October and features loads of fantastic writers (and me).
I am also taking part in the official MGUK blog tour by answering some questions about my debut novel ‘Fire Girl’ and life as a writer.
I hope to see you on the 17th! Now – on with the questions . . .
‘Fire Girl’ is your first novel. Can you tell us a bit about it?
‘Fire Girl’ is an adventure story set in an alternative England where magic is real, and the Witches who wield it are hunted by ruthless Witch Hunters. The main character is called Hazel. She’s a Fire Witch and has been protected from this dark and dangerous land by her mother, Hecate.
When Hecate is kidnapped by a terrifying demon, Hazel sets out to find her. But she quickly realises that she doesn’t have the skills to track down a demon, so she employs a Witch Hunter and his apprentice to help her – all the while keeping her identity as a Witch secret.
You can watch the ‘Fire Girl’ trailer here:
What did you hope to achieve by writing ‘Fire Girl’?
To write the best book I possibly could, get the interest of an agent and then get it published. I’m as amazed as anyone that I succeeded. As far as the story goes, I wanted to write the same sort of fast-paced, characterful, dark and scary book I read as a child, and still love as an adult.
Describe your typical writing day.
I like to start early. On a good day I’m at my desk by 7.30am and have done a few hundred words before breakfast. That makes me feel good and with any luck I’m finished by early afternoon. I used to have a daily word count goal, but I found I became obsessed with the number of words written and not the words themselves. Now I work to a weekly word count, which feels like less pressure.
When I’ve finished writing, I read, watch films, play computer games (all in the name of research, of course) and generally mark time until the next day and the work begins again. It’s a simple life, and I love it.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
There are so many fantastic things to mention! As a full-time writer I’m lucky enough to be able to plan my days any way I want. There’s no one telling me what to do, and when to do it. What that does mean is I’m solely responsible for getting my work done, but because I love it that is never a problem.
I’m also part of a vast and varied community of people – readers, librarians, bookshop owners, bloggers, reviewers and fellow writers – who all love books and stories as much as I do. Being a published writer is, to coin a cliché, a dream come true.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get published?
Read. Read a lot, and read widely. Write. Remember that writing is a craft and it can be learnt; the more you do it the better you’ll get. Enjoy yourself. Persevere, even when you feel crappy or you’ve had another rejection – the only sure-fire way to not get published is to give up. So don’t.
What can we expect from you next?
I’m currently working on a sequel to ‘Fire Girl’. It’s called ‘Fire Witch’, I’m very excited about it, and Macmillan Children’s Books are publishing it in July 2016.