Thursday, 1 August 2013

The YA Edinburgh Book Hunt!

Welcome to the YA Edinburgh Book Hunt!

We are YA authors who are appearing at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, and we have got together to give away signed copies of our books. To win them all, all you have to do is read this blog, find the highlighted number, and do the task given, below. Then follow the link to the next blog. Once you’ve visited them all – add the numbers together, and email the result to A winner will be chosen at random from correct entries. Open internationally. Closes midnight UK time, 26 August 2013.

For my part of the hunt, I’m giving away a signed copy of Dead Jealous!

My event at Edinburgh this year is part of the schools programme and I'll be talking about what makes a great detective and what I learned about crime and detection while I was writing my first thriller! 

The event takes place at 12 noon in the Ballie Gifford Corner Theatre on the 19th August. 

The Task:
Follow @PoodlePowered on Twitter, and tweet this:

Enter to win loads of signed YA books on the #YAEdinburghBookHunt! Details here:  @PoodlePowered  #YA#giveaway

OR If you’re not on Twitter, tell your friends about it,and leave a comment below, instead.

The next blog to visit is....

Julie Bertagna

Good luck!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

SCBWI Undiscovered Voices literally changed my life!

I entered Undiscovered Voices mostly because a certain other SCBWI member (Ellen Renner) nagged me to. I’d entered the time before and received an honorary mention. That was so amazing that bubbly liquids were consumed and I flew high for about a year. I wasn’t writing total rubbish. Hurrah!
Then along came UV2012 and I have to admit I was reluctant to try again. Having received an honorary mention the first time I was kind of happy to leave it at that. I wasn’t sure my writing had got a whole lot better… so how could I hope to improve on the last time?
I’m so glad Ellen bullied me! Undiscovered Voices was a really amazing experience; from being told that I’d made the long list to the phone call telling me that my extract was going to be included in the anthology. 
To go from being scared to show anyone anything to having agents and editors requesting material from me was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. I think I would have gone a little bit mad if it wasn’t for my lovely friends who talked me down every time I got close to freaking out, plus the UV organisers were on hand with nuggets of trustworthy advice. And that's what so lovely about Undiscovered Voices, it's not an impersonal competition where you're just left to get on with it... instead it's a bit like winning the lottery - there is lots of help and advice on the other side - there's even a training day where you get to meet the other folk in the anthology.
Jenny Savill from Andrew Nurnberg Associates was the first agent to get in touch with me as she’d been one of the judges. That was a huge day. Jenny was my dream agent, and although several other agents requested from me, I knew the minute I met Jenny that she was the right agent for me.
My entry, DEAD JEALOUS was by no means perfect. I spent a few weeks revising the manuscript with Jenny before it then went out to editors. Orchard, incidentally, were the very first publisher to get back to Jenny to say that they might be interested... a month or so later, the sale was agreed and Dead Jealous found a home.

It seemed so right that in the week that UNDISCOVERED VOICES 2014 opened to submissions, DEAD JEALOUS was published in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. If it wasn't for UV2012 I doubt I'd even be submitting to agents, let alone be finishing writing my second book.

I owe the hugest of huge thanks to everyone involved in Undiscovered Voices. Through your hard work... well, look...
Thank you!

So that's what it was like for me, I wonder what it's like on the other side of the fence? 

I'm delighted to welcome my fabulous agent, the very lovely Jenny Savill (@JennySavill1
who was one of the judges of UV2012...

As an agent, what was the best thing about being involved in Undiscovered Voices 2012?      
Discovering a certain Sharon Jones, a single-minded teen sleuth called Poppy Sinclair and a dog called Dawkins...
*blushes* You would say that! 
But what was it like being in the judging room? Were there fights?       
It was fun and interesting in the judging room. I think we all knew how privileged we were to be reading and selecting the entries. It is a big responsibility, making decisions that can and do affect writers' careers and I think we were all aware of that. The discussions we had were fascinating and it was interesting to see how different the judges' responses could be to a single title. Some could be keen, others less so and it was so interesting to hear what had appealed and why. There weren't actual fights - Sara O'Connor was very strict with us! - but rather impassioned pleas by judges who felt strongly enough about a submission to make the case for it to be in the anthology. There was general agreement on most titles selected. As an agent, it was interesting to see, through the process of selection, with which editors' taste I was most aligned. (I naturally made a mental note for later!)

What makes a submission stand out?       
A beginning that hooks you in straight away and leaves you wanting to read on. A strong, clear voice. The clear intention of the author to grip the reader and pull them into the story. The ability to show, not tell. Humour. Atmosphere. A point of difference. 

What are your top tips for people entering this year?      
The judges want to be blown away - so blow them away! With a character they will fall in love with, an authentic voice that cannot be ignored, a setting - familiar or otherwise - that is yet to be explored, or a predicament which will leave them desperate to read the whole novel in order to find out how things will be resolved. These are the elements that the winning entries tend to have going for them. Good luck!
Thanks, Jenny! So there you have it. Undiscovered Voices isn't the only route to publication but it can be life changing - it was for me! 

Best of luck to everyone who enters this year!  

You can download a free copy of Undiscovered Voices 2012 HERE
You can find out about how to submit to Undiscovered Voices 2014 HERE!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Quarter to midnight...

It's quarter to midnight as I write this post.
Most sensible people are tucked up in their beds. 
Not me. 
For me tonight is the writer's equivalent of Christmas Eve. 
In just fifteen minutes more a book will officially be published.
Not just any book, but my book.
My book! 
Can you believe it? 
Never thought I'd see the day. 
But there it is.
It's official: dreams can come true.

So, a few words of thanks...

to Ellen Renner, who made me enter Dead Jealous into UV2012
and then read every draft there ever was!
To all the editors and judges of Undiscovered Voices,
especially Jenny Savill of ANA who with one email changed everything
...and then went on to make me change... everything! (Only kidding!)

To Megan Larkin, Rebecca Frazer, Rosalind Turner and all the folks in 
design, publicity and sales & marketing at Orchard Books
for working so hard to turn Dead Jealous from manuscript to book. 

And finally, thank you to all my lovely family and friends
(virtual or otherwise!)
for putting up with me and for being there through all the ups and downs.

Oh, look it's 12.00...



Monday, 1 July 2013

DEAD JEALOUS is off on tour!

To celebrate the launch of DEAD JEALOUS I'm off on a virtual tour, visiting some lovely blogs and talking to some lovely folk along the way. A huge thank you to everyone hosting a stop!

Here's where you'll be able to find me: