Having had a frustrating summer…car problems in France then Mum’s illness and ultimate passing I’ve done little in the way of writing. I did write a ghost story whilst in France(photo) and re-jigged a couple of poems but feelings of guilt are surfacing and I have to address this. Having written this post I feel I will focus on writing and I’ve recently had really positive feedback from readers of Tartan Witch and The Pirates so….
I have been so busy lately between finishing and publishing my children’s novel, Halloween Quest, attending book fairs and reading my books at schools. This is a poor apology for neglecting this space.
I have to say that I’m really pleased to have Halloween Quest ‘out there’ at last. I was delighted when the late Cathie MacPhail placed the first 1000 words of the story in first place in an Ayr Writers’ competition a few years ago.
‘Why did you call it Halloween Quest?’ my daughters asked when I told them this is not a story about Halloween, it merely happens at that time!
I reckoned Halloween is popular with the intended audience and, with an eye-catching cover, the hope is that youngsters will be drawn to the book. There are many elements identified in this story of discovery but the main message is that it is good to talk about things. The book provides many opportunities for discussion with young people and within book study groups.
I am delighted that Dame Emma Thompson was prepared to pose with a copy.
Over the past week Tartan Witch has been showing me her neck of the woods, quite literally sometimes! She took me on the Jacobite train to Mallaig and it was thrilling going over the Glenfinnan Viaduct. I’m sure there’s been a certain young wizard on that same journey! We walked along the Caledonian Canal and ended up at Neptune’s Staircase….what an engineering marvel that is! We’ve been to Fort William and Ben Nevis, Fort Augustus, the lochs of the Great Glen and much of The Cairngorm National Park. We passed The Lecht Ski Centre and I’m quite relieved that it wasn’t open as I’m sure she’d have me on it! We toured Deeside and travelled the road from Cockbridge to Tomintoul. The scenery was even more spectacular in its Autumn shades. I do hope she invites me back soon!
Well, we’re gradually coming out of lockdown and what a relief! It’s been a dreadful year for book sales and I have so missed the school visits. Virtual visits were a blessing and enjoyed but there’s nothing quite like the ‘hands on’ interaction with the children!
I have been busy though and at present I have 2 books off looking to find publishers for acceptance, it’s an unsettling time.
The first book is my children’s novel, Halloween Quest. This was completed in lockdown and I really hope someone takes it up as the story has many important messages told within a fantastical adventure. It’s geared to middle grade children and I will really enjoy school visits with this one!
The other book, Ten Little Hedgehogs, is for Early Years and combines features of Autumn, Science and Number. once a teacher, always a teacher.
There is also another exciting book in progress. ‘Elbo’ is a Christmas story about one of Santa’s elves and is being beautifully illustrated by a talented young artist, Gemma Jones, who I’m sure will go far. More about that nearer publication date.
In the meantime I think I might concentrate on my poetry and give another brain department a shoogle.
Yesterday I had the privilege of reading Witch Hitch and The Woo in the Wild Woods to children in Nursery, Reception and Year1 at Runnymede College, Madrid via Zoom!
I wondered how this would pan out but all went well. The children listened well and asked questions. It was so good to be reading and have interaction with children after the horrible year we’re having.
Thankfully the children liked the stories and it was lovely to meet new audiences.
Later this month I shall be reading How the Pirates Turned the Tide to Year 2 at the school.
Anyone who knows me knows what a technophobe I am so it’s amazing how I manage to use Zoom to interact with audiences at this Covid-dominated time.
Here we are nearing the end of what has been a most trying year for everyone. Little did I think How difficult it would be to publish a new book in the current circumstances. My virtual launch was an enjoyable learning experience for me but proved quite ineffective in book sales. Most of the outlets that usually sell my books were closed due to Covid and to date are still not selling books. With Christmas fast approaching I am hoping that discerning adults will give books this year and I hope to sell some.
My shelves are heaving with boxes of books but I am keeping positive and hope things change soon.
That’s the ‘bad’. The ‘good’ is that as I was quarantined in March, April, May and June I finally finished the children’s novel that I started about 5 years ago and then neglected. On lovely sunny days I sat in the garden and was inspired to complete the book. Somehow the story just seemed to tell itself to me and took me on a journey where, although I knew the main elements to be included, I was taken on a surprising and satisfying route. Now it’s the almost impossible challenge of finding a publisher willing to take this story which is informative and carries a most important message.
It’s Hallowe’en in two day’s time and I was delighted to see that a local school chose Witch Hitch as the preferred read. Pictures of the children engaged in listening and drawing make this whole writing business so rewarding.