Monday, 20 September 2010

A Golden Opportunity

I was lucky enough to be invited to Catherine Cooper's celebration party the other day. Catherine has just won the overall Brit Writers award with her magical book The Golden Acorn'

The red carpet was out and many people were trying it out for comfort, but of course it was there for Catherine who is a worthy person to tread it.

The copy below is the one that was printed in advance for when she attended the awards ceremony at the O2 in London.

The room and tables were incredible as Catherine had gone to immense detail to capture the magic of her book. The place names each had a golden acorn for us to take home and many of the characters from the book where on display. A man played a harp as we entered the room and Roman Soldiers mixed with the guests.

I was so inspired by the speeches that friends and family made about Catherine. She had suffered with poor health for years, eventually having to give up her much loved job, but never gave up on her writing.

She began by self-publishing her first three books and taking her wonderful displays into schools to inspire children to read. I was captivated when I first met her at a writers event in Newport earlier this year and had to buy 'The Golden Acorn' out of the money from my own book sales!

She entered the Brit Writing awards and not only won the children's award but was crowned the overall winner.

Catherine Cooper

'Camelin' - one of the characters from her book, carefully guarding Catherine's Awards.

The celebration cake

More characters from the book

Myself and Mom were on a table with other writers which was wonderful and we were spellbound when a Roman Centurion joined us for the whole afternoon. They were dotted around several tables and I had the pleasure of Gaius Longinius sitting right next to me! I even had a go at writing on his roman wax tablet.

I came away feeling so inspired, after such a magical day, and believing that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The search is on

I had to pick myself up a little last week after my novel was rejected by another publisher. However, it was still encouraging as I received such positive feedback which has spurred me on to go down the path of trying to find an agent.

My novel Red Kite has only been rejected six times which is not a lot really, based on the fact that 'Gone With The Wind' by Margaret Mitchell was rejected dozens of times before going on to be a best seller. There are of course countless others of writers that have not got there straight away, after all if it was easy, everyone would be doing it!

I have found it difficult with the timescale and that some publishers only want to see it in isolation, they may hang to it on for months only to reject it, leaving me back at a very low square one.

As I am on holiday this week, I shall begin my quest to search for an agent instead as after reading an interview in ALCS News with Stella Duffy, novelist, playwright and actor, I felt that this was the best way forward when writing fiction.

I have found quite a few agents to approach by searching the Writer's Market and Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, and hope it will increase my chances of eventually publishing my novel. I was running out of publishers who will accept submissions without an agent anyway.

There is also a great article on using agents in the October edition of Writers Forum.