Book Buddy

March 13, 2018
A lovely fellow children's writer and booky friend of mine, the delectable Maz Evans, spotted a problem when she was visiting schools to give author talks.  Simply put she noticed that there is a huge hole in the budget for libraries, school librarians and books.  BOOKS!  Surely the building blocks that every school should be amply equipped with.  But no, Maz found teachers dipping into their own purses to buy books for their classes and libraries sourced mainly from charity shops and donations.

This is not a new revelation, indeed it is something that is often talked about.  But award winning writer and all round good egg aMAZing Evans decided that talking about the problem wasn't really going to fix it. So she set up a brilliant initiative to put schools and people with books together.  Schools in need of a literary injection can sign up to the scheme and people with books to spare can make contact and help fill their shelves and libraries.

I found a primary school a few miles away from me on the Book Buddy website.   it had been posted by a year 6 teacher wanting to give her children something more than David Walliams, Roald Dahl and the Famous Five.  
So along I went this morning, armed with a lovely big pile of books suitable for this age group.  Books by Robin Stevens, Cathy Cassidy, Tamsin Cooke and loads of other authors that the children are ready to become fans of.  I spent a happy time talking to the children about their favourite books and being shown a fantastic display of 100 covers.  100 books to read before you leave primary school.  What a fantastic idea!  It was lovely to see a mixture of classics and new titles and the brilliant Miss Tisi is obviously a great advocate of children's books.  The school is lucky to have her.
The children were so excited to see what new books they could add to their class collection and it was just as it should be.  A classroom filled with eager faces and shiny new children's books.  There is no ground breaking news in linking those two things together and, in a world that seems to be forgetting the importance of reading for fun and teaching our children that books can be a gateway and a lifeline, it was brilliant to see that there are still people out there willing to make it happen.

Thank you Miss Tisi and thank you Maz!

To get involved with this project go to 

Still waiting

September 13, 2017
Who said the world of publishing is slow?? Was it the snail or the sloth?  Having spent the last 6 years living and breathing the world of books I thought I had a pretty realistic grasp on the length of time it takes to get anything done.  I know how pressured everyone's time is, I know the phenomenally huge piles of work every agent and editor have.  Yet there is still a little (ok medium....fairly large if I'm honest) part of me that still nurses the bubble of impatience.
Jo and I went out o...
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Final push on the edits

May 18, 2017
Since signing with the rather lovely Jo Moult I have been revisiting The Boy From The Cellar which has been lovely as it feels like seeing old friends again after a bit of a break.
Jo has made some suggestions which have all made the book a better beast.  We are now almost ready for it to be fledged and find it's way in the publishing world.  Then it will be fingers crossed all over again that one of the publishers who reads it thinks it is worth taking.
I am going to have to fill the next roun...
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Officially agented and officially OVER THE MOON!

March 1, 2017
The title of this post about says it all really!! Last week I became an agented writer and am so very very excited!
Getting an agent has been something I have been trying to do for such a long time and now I can hardly believe it has finally happened!!!
I am utterly delighted to announce that I am now represented by Joanna Moult of Skylark Literary Agency.
🎉🎉🎉🎉 (this calls for my first ever emoji blog post!) 
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A Little Bit of Success

December 7, 2016
A small foot note to the NaNoWriMo post.
I mentioned that I believe fate plays a hand in the things that happen in my life.  The chain of events that led me to completing MIMA MALONE AND THE MAD BAD INVENTOR were not planned by me.  I had expected to spend the whole of November writing my 1984 story but had to scoop up Mima when I realised the problem with re-imagining a story written less than 80 years ago.
I am so glad I did though as, not only did I have an absolute ball writing a story that...
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My NaNoWriMo experience

December 7, 2016
November started for me with the NaNoWriMo writing challenge.  I decided to go for a story that had been knocking around in my head for a while, a re-imagining of George Orwell's 1984 for a modern MG audience.  Great, I thought.  The over use of screens for the modern child is current and the possibility of them being used by an evil force to control the kids in an Orwellian way might be quite an interesting concept.
I got a few thousand words in, planned the entire thing in more detail than I...
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October 18, 2016
What a title! To those of you who thought I had just sat on my keyboard, no..! NaNoWriMo is a real thing. It stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is a challenge that I have just signed up for!  It means that over the course of November I will come up with at least 50,000 words of a brilliant novel.  Only in first raw draft but complete and ready to edit and polish.
That is a lot of words!!
Just need to decide which story to write.  Wish me luck.
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The Federation of Children's Book Groups

June 8, 2016
A couple of years ago I met a lady called Sarah Stuffins.  Sarah won't mind me saying (I hope) that she is a bit of a chidren's books nut......I think that is why we get on well!  Sarah is the chair of my local branch of the Federation of Children's Book Groups (FCBG) and has just handed over the role of National chair to another fantastic lady called Jane Etheridge.
And so my journey with the FCBG began.  To start with I joined as a family so that my girls would have the chance to vote for th...
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Total immersion in children's books

March 23, 2016
I think that if it's possible to overdose on children's fiction then I am currently in a bit of danger.
Yesterday evening I was in London for the monthly book group held at Nosy Crow. It is brilliant being part of a group that only discusses children's books (and its held at the Crow's Nest which is always an exciting trip!)
Today I signed my children and I up for yet another talk at the Oxford Literary Festival in April.....that makes 4 talks now but when you get the chance to be creative with...
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New ventures

March 1, 2016
Since my last post I have been spending rather a lot of time at my desk in the attic (which has luckily been converted into a bedroom for my smallest child with a tiny workroom as a bonus for me!)
I have finished my second book for mid grade children, aiming at an audience slightly older than Zachary Mackerel, around 9-12 years.
It is called Dog-Girl and tells the story of Lily Ritson, a twelve year old girl who discovers she not only has super powers but also the ability to morph into a border...
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