Delving into the DA Authors’ Inspiration – Part Two

Now it’s Friday, and we are officially starting to count down to Christmas (!!), we wanted to continue what we started last week with all of our wonderful Adult authors… it’s time to share how some of our Children’s authors got to writing…

Cathy Cassidy, Puffin’s bestselling author for girls and of the CHOCOLATE BOX GIRLS series:

I was scraping a living as a teen mag agony aunt and freelance mag journalist but had never managed my dream of writing a book-length story – until a new friend’s disbelief that I wanted to be a writer goaded me into finally getting past chapter three. Her tough-love comments pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to achieve that dream.

Fortune Cookie

Polly Ho-Yen, author of the award-nominated BOY IN THE TOWER (Random House Children’s Books):

It started slowly for me. I have always loved books and working with books but I simply didn’t think that I was good enough to write one, let alone for it to be published. I started writing just for my own pleasure, with no ambition of what might happen, and quickly found that I enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t stop. When ‘Boy in the Tower’ was published, I still had the nagging feeling that I wasn’t good enough to make it as an author.

However, when I was looking for a new job, I realised writing was the thing that I liked doing most in    the world. I was also encouraged by my lovely readers, who told me to keep going and who were endlessly enthusiastic. I suddenly knew that if I didn’t give writing a chance then it never would be my career and, though it was perhaps scarier than other paths, I was more afraid of not giving it a go. Now, I can’t imagine having a day without writing in it and hope that I won’t have to.

FINAL COVER BOY IN THE TOWER

Dave Rudden, author of the upcoming KNIGHTS OF THE BORROWED DARK (Puffin):

 I first started writing when I was seventeen. Fanfiction, actually – grimdark far future military sci-fi with lots of glorious last stands and lantern-jawed heroics. I used to lurk on a website called Imperial Literature. Reading stories graduated to the occasional comment, and the community was so welcoming that eventually I put up my very first piece of fiction. Just five hundred words, just an experiment to see if I could. Looking back, I don’t mind admitting that it was dreadful, but every comment I got was kind and constructive until finally someone commented ‘love this. When’s the next one?’

 The question had never occurred to me before. When’s the next one?

 Helen Grant, author of THE VANISHING OF KATHARINA LINDEN and THE FORBIDDEN SPACES trilogy (Random House Children’s Books):

 I’ve always wanted to write. When I was 10, our school teacher asked us what we wanted to do when we grew up, and I said very firmly that I wanted to write. He looked at me and said , “And you will.”

For a long time other things got in the way: university, first job, travelling, then two babies. Then in 2001 we moved to Germany. The children started at kindergarten and all of a sudden I had my mornings free. On the very first day they were both out of the house, I booted up my PC and started writing, and I’ve carried on ever since. My first book was published in 2009. 

URBAN LEGENDS FRONT COVER

 Caroline Crowe, author of PIRATES IN PYJAMAS (Little Tiger Press):

I’ve written silly rhymes for friends since I was at school and I knew by the time I left University that I wanted to be a writer, but the two things didn’t come together to make a picture book text until a few years ago. After I graduated I was very lucky to get work experience at a national newspaper and ended up never leaving. It wasn’t until 10 years later when I decided to go freelance that I started writing texts for children. I love picture books and we have a huge collection at home. I don’t think there was one defining moment, but as soon as I had the time, writing picture books was exactly what I wanted to do.

Pirates in Pyjamaas cover

Olivia Levez, author of the upcoming THE ISLAND (Oneworld):

 Definitely the morning that I walked into my head’s office and asked for a sabbatical from teaching. I had a wonderful creative year in which I joined SCBWI and went on my first conference,  went to art college to do my foundation, and most importantly, wrote my first book, which I’d been trying to do for years and years.  Although that first book was pretty dreadful, it did get a request for a complete from an agent, and that gave me the confidence to carry on writing.

The Island B.indd

Kim Slater, author of the Carnegie nominated SMART (Macmillan Children’s Books):

For the last three years since securing my first book deal, I’ve stuck doggedly to the same routine; wake up and write 6-8 am each morning, then off to my day job as a full-time self-employed school bursar.  On top of this, I’ve also written in the evenings, at weekends, on holidays (including my recent honeymoon!) and at Christmas-time.

To me, writing isn’t a chore, it isn’t a job – it’s something I love to do and I ache when I can’t do it. The greatest luxury for a writer is having the time to think, to simmer ideas and well, to write.  So, this summer, when the opportunity came to write full-time, my resounding response was, YES PLEASE!

Smart jacket small

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