Hello readers! I’m back with an exciting upload, a piece written by published author Amy Wilson on how she became published. I’m delighted to be sharing her story on my blog today, if like me, you are aspiring to one day see your books in stores and shelved in libraries, then this is a must-read! Amy is the author of A Girl Called Owl and latest release A Far Away Magic. Thank you to Pan Macmillan for sending me copies of both books, they look super pretty together! Enjoy reading and stay tuned for more details on the books as well as purchase links to them if you are interested in picking up copies! I also saw Amy discuss at a book event for Bath Children’s Literature Festival last year ‘Writing For Young People’ which I really enjoyed! I have a full post for that which you can access on my blog!
I liked writing poetry, when I was small. I liked the play of words, the rhythm, and they were easier to finish – or to feel finished, anyway. When I wrote stories they felt like magic, utterly transporting, but I always got lost in the middle. I remember starting my first novel when I was on holiday in Spain, I was about twelve, and there was a boy called Jeff in it, but that’s about all I remember and I certainly didn’t finish it.
I spent the next twenty years doing things like that, while I went through secondary school and found a career in newspaper journalism. So many beginnings of things that never quite found their way to the end.
That’s why I did the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa in the end, because I knew I’d come out with 40,000 words of something that had been worked on with the guidance of the tutors there. We had two small children, it was disastrous financially, but at the end of it I did indeed have my 40,000 words. I finished that novel, and sent it out to agents. I was very lucky to get some interest, but in the end there were no takers. I wrote another book and sent that out. Again, some interest, but no takers, until Amber Caraveo of Skylark got in touch to say that although she didn’t think what I’d sent was quite the right thing for her, she loved my writing. Could I send her some beginnings?
Could I! I had dozens of my non-finished things. I sent a few pieces over to her, including my first, rejected novel, and I was kind of hoping she’d choose that one because it was already written. She did not. But she loved the first three chapters of A Girl Called Owl. We discussed the plot – I am terrible at synopses, she still despairs of the way I write those – and I went away, newly inspired, to finish writing it. And in May 2015, I had the most wonderful call, when she offered me representation.
There was editing to do, and much work before it could be sent out to publishers, but I can still remember that call. And I remember vividly, too, the call I got at the start of November 2015, when Amber told me we’d sold A Girl Called Owl to Macmillan. My third child was less than a week old, and it was, after all that time, a bit of a blur! Most days I still can’t believe it’s really real. So I’m just going to keep writing, and hoping people will still want to read what I’m writing. Because although a lot has changed in all that time, the writing hasn’t. The writing is still the bit that feels like magic to me. And now I know it’s possible to get to the end. It might not be in the right shape, but it exists, as a whole. If I have a piece of advice it would be that – to finish what you’re doing. Fight through all the clunky bits and navigate all those crossroads, and get to the end. It will need editing, but it will be there. You will have done it, and whatever happens next nobody can ever take that away from you. And when you’re ready, you can send it out!
Thanks so much to Jo at Macmillan for inviting me to be a part of the promotional tour and for the opportunity to feature a post here! Also, big thanks to MyKindaBook and to Amy for sending copies to me. Hope you enjoyed reading, here are the blurbs for the novels:
It’s bad enough having a mum dippy enough to name you Owl, but when you’ve got a dad you’ve never met, a best friend who needs you more than ever, and a new boy at school giving you weird looks, there’s not a lot of room for much else.
So when Owl starts seeing strange frost patterns on her skin, she’s tempted to just burrow down under the duvet and forget all about it. Could her strange new powers be linked to her mysterious father? And what will happen when she enters the magical world of winter for the first time?
A glittering story of frost and friendship, with writing full of magic and heart, A Girl Called Owl is a stunning debut about family, responsibility and the beauty of the natural world.
When Angel moves to a new school after the death of her parents, she isn’t interested in making friends. Until she meets Bavar – a strange boy, tall, awkward and desperate to remain unseen, but who seems to have a kind of magic about him. Everyone and everything within Bavar’s enchanted house is urging him to step up and protect the world from a magical rift through which monsters are travelling, the same monsters that killed Angel’s parents.
But Bavar doesn’t want to follow the path that’s been chosen for him – he wants to be normal; to disappear. Fighting one another as well as their fears, Angel and Bavar must find a way to repair the rift between the worlds, and themselves, before it’s too late . . .
See you all soon with a new post!