One of my writer friends, visited the East Neuk of Fife last week. I've known Morag Caunt for a few years now as we're both members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI or Scoobie as it's affectionately referred to by many). At one point Morag and I were part of the same young adult critique group. I used to look forward to her work being posted each month as I was enthralled by the gritty, true-to-life short stories she wrote, all inspired by her work with young people in The Zone, a youth drama group near to her Yorkshire home.
Happily, these stories have been compiled into a paperback volume entitled The Zone which is now available from completelynovel.com. Not only that, but Morag has already shared one or two of these tales with young people, having visited a secondary school whilst she was in Fife. Not only that but the school is in the very East Neuk village where her story, The Sea Tunnnel is set. I'll tell you more about Morag in a future post but, for now, it's 'cheerio' to Morag and 'hello' to another writer friend, the amazing Kate Foster.
I came across Kate when I joined Twitter in summer 2013, and I've followed her writing journey ever since. Kate's another SCBWI member so I had hoped we'd have met in real life by now. But then she and her family upped and left the UK and relocated to Australia. Was it something I said?
Anyone who knows Kate on Twitter will attest to the fact that she's one of the friendliest, most enthusiastic and generous people you could ever meet online. So, when she announced last year that her children's novel Winnell Road had been acquired by Jet Black Publishing, it was not in the least bit surprising to see the outpouring of congratulations from her fellow tweeters. I'm delighted to tell you that Kate's book is now out in the wild for all to enjoy. I'll tell you more about Winnell Road, and Kate herself, next week.
Meantime, I've been thinking a lot about what another writer friend said to me recently, about not being a real author because she isn't published. I must admit, it made me sad to hear that. The thing is, she's passionate about her writing and works her tartan socks off to make her stories as accomplished as possible. Not a real author? Of course she is! A yet-to-be-published one, sure, but a writer nonetheless. She just hasn't been discovered yet. Yet she will be some day, of that I have no doubt - she has the talent, enthusiasm and self-determination to make it happen.
On the subject of being discovered, have you heard of the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices 2016 competition? If you're a yet-to-be-published children's and/or young adult writer living in the UK and
Europe then this one is for you. It launches in London on May 14th (I'm super excited to be going to this!) and is open to submissions from July 1st until August 16th. Please note, you need to be
a SCBWI member to enter. Details of the competition can be found here: http://www.wordsandpics.org/2015/05/less-donkey-more-blossom.html#.VUc7px_DOmk.facebook
Talking about writing, it's time I did some! I hope you've enjoyed learning a little about my two writer friends and will visit my blog again when I run my interviews with them. Over the course of the next year I plan on chatting to a number of writers, all at various stages in the publication process, including those yet-to-be-published. I'm very excited about this, I hope you will be too.
Until then, it's goodbye for now. Have a great week, everyone!
Yvonne Ventresca (Monday, 04 May 2015 15:17)
Christina -- a lovely post celebrating friendship!
Bobbi Miller (Monday, 04 May 2015 15:30)
What a nice discussion, celebrating friendship. I love the SCBWI nickname, Scoobie!
Laurie J. Edwards (Monday, 04 May 2015 20:48)
Nice post, Christina. I look forward to reading more about your author friends and their journeys. We called SCBWI -- Skibwee. Funny how different places have different nicknames.
Marcia Strykowski (Tuesday, 05 May 2015 13:36)
Lovely to meet your writer friends and congratulations to them for their new books! SCBWI is such a wonderful way to connect with kindred spirits. I used to call myself 'prepublished' before my books were released. :)
Rebecca C (Tuesday, 05 May 2015 17:32)
Great to read about your writing friendships. I had the pleasure of attending Morag's book launch last week where she read The Sea Tunnel. She's done a great job on her book and with the youth she works with. I look forward to checking out Kate and her work in due course.
Christina Banach (Monday, 11 May 2015 08:51)
Thank you for all these lovely comments; I really appreciate them.