I thought I’d do an actual blog sort of post for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing so that we can follow the real life story of my next book from writing through to world domination.
It all started like this …
Well it was with ‘Tails of a Country Garden’ as it happens. (Have you got your copy yet? You really should, you know.) When I wrote that, I deliberately kept the ‘author’s voice’ very quiet, because the world of the book is seen from the point of view of the cats – Fleet, Strongclaw and Elegance – so having even a hint of narrator would take the reader out of that world and, in my view, spoil things.
The majority of it is from Fleet’s point of view, and Fleet is a kitten approaching adulthood. In human terms, I guess he would be a young teenager, with shades of the child still very much there, and with aspirations of being an adult. And because it was written largely in that way, it sort of emerged as a book that would appeal to readers of that age as much as adults. It wasn’t meant as a children’s book at all, but I am hearing from a number of young people who have read and enjoyed it.
So I thought to myself, why not have a go at writing especially for that age group. Given that my sense of humour is still best described as juvenile – much like the rest of me – it seemed a logical thing to do.
I read a few of David Walliams’s books, and I thought that my natural style – chatty, personable and daft – was not dissimilar.
So ‘Alfie & the Ghost’ came along. For those of you who like to know how authors get their ideas, let me tell you … I was thinking of various plots at the back end of October last year, and Halloween arrived. Hmm, I thought; and that was it, really.
The first book for an author new to the 8-12 or middle grade market is recommended by those in the know as being between 20,000 and 25,000 words, and ‘Alfie & the Ghost’ was duly produced at 23,000. It has been edited many times – because when I read something I’ve written I always change it – and it has been read by representatives of the target audience. One of them – she’s just 8 – gave a nice description; “It’s a bit adventure and it’s a bit funny”, which is what I was aiming for!
Bringing you up to date, I have now decided to (try to) get an agent. My experience with ‘Tails’ proved that I am much better at writing than I am at marketing, so I want to go the traditional route with this one, as I did with the Galaxy Game series. My original agent – Judy Martin – has sadly passed away, so I am seeking a new one.