Did you always want to be a writer?
I loved writing stories and poems at school but I didn’t really think it was something I could do for a living. I did other jobs that involved writing but it wasn’t until I had my children and thought about a career change that I realised how much I missed writing stories. I did an Arvon course which really inspired me and made me believe that perhaps this was something I could do. I started writing The Year of the Rat on that course! I signed up to do an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University and got my publishing deal while I was on that course.
How did you get to be published?
After working on my manuscript for a LONG time I sent it off to Catherine Clarke, a literary agent who I’d met at a SCBWI British Isles event. She represented authors I really admired so I really hoped she’d take me on. I was delighted when she agreed to represent me. She sent the manuscript out to publishers and within a month of finishing the manuscript there was an eight-way auction for my book. It was a pretty amazing and surreal experience!
Are you writing another book?
Yes! It’s called How Not To Disappear and will be published in the UK in January 2016.
What are your tips for aspiring writers?
Don’t be afraid to get it wrong, nobody writes perfectly all the time – editing is a big part of the process.
Write a story you care about – don’t try to write something you’re not really interested in just because you think it’s likely to get published.
If you get stuck don’t panic! All writers get stuck. Sometimes you just need to work through it, sometimes it helps to take a break and not think about it for a while, sometimes it’s good to talk it through with another writer. But getting stuck doesn’t mean you can’t write.
Be patient – don’t send your manuscript out until it’s as good as you can make it.
Who is your agent?
My agent is Catherine Clarke of Felicity Bryan Associates.