WriteWords talks to Eve Ainsworth aka WW member Eve26, whose novel Seven Days is out with Scholastic in 2015.
Tell us something about your background.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been creating stories. When I was little and before I could write, I used to run around my back garden making up stories out loud – the neighbours probably thought I was a little odd! When I was ten I typed out my first children’s story ‘Muddles The Mouse’ and sent it to Penguin. I received a lovely letter back, saying it had been taken to a board meeting and they told me never to give up. Throughout my teenage years my room was littered with abandoned novels and scrawled ideas. I knew I wanted to be a writer, there was a constant drive inside me, but lack of self belief held me back for a long time.
I really knuckled down to writing whilst pregnant with my first child in 2007. I wrote a contemporary/thriller and began to circulate it to agents. In hindsight, the novel wasn’t my strongest, but through it I began to understand the writing process, and I joined writing networks such as Writewords. I wrote my next novel, The Blog of Maisy Malone, and received much more favourable feedback, although I still struggled to get an agent. At times it seemed I was close, but not close enough. By now, I had discovered my voice and knew that I wanted to write Young Adult. My next book, The Art of Kissing Frogs, was shortlisted for the Greenhouse Funny Prize – yet I still couldn’t secure an agent, despite several ‘full’ requests.
Tell us about your journey to getting an agent and publisher
I decided to self-publish Maisy Malone, but had moments where I doubted whether I would ever actually make it as a writer.
I just couldn’t stop! The drive to write just wouldn’t go away, and there was always a little voice inside my head saying, ‘the next book might be the ONE’. The friends and contacts I’d made on writing sites were also fantastic and kept me going when I felt disheartened.
I also found writing short stories helped me. I was able to develop my writing and it gave me something else to concentrate on. Having some success in other publications such as Writer’s Forum and Prima magazine was a huge confidence boost.
I wrote Seven Days relatively quickly, but I took time to make sure it was ready. I found other writers (beta readers) who read it for me and provided feedback - this helped shape it and make it stronger. When I submitted Seven Days I felt it was as ready as it ever could be. Luckily, this one was snapped up by Stephanie Thwaites at Curtis Brown. I was overjoyed. She is a fab agent and as soon as I met her, I knew she would do a fantastic job for me.
After a nerve-wrecking submission process, Stephanie sold Seven Days to Scholastic UK. It will be published in April 2015 and I couldn’t be happier.
What's the worst thing about writing?
The self-doubt never goes away, and it’s an evil beast.
And the best?
I love seeing the ideas coming together, or a piece of writing flowing beautifully. There is also nothing like the satisfaction of typing ‘the end’ on a piece of work.
My other passions?
My children. Reading (anything)!! I love films by British directors such as Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Shane Meadows.
What distracts you from writing?
All of the above.
Tell us what you're reading:
I read mainly YA/teen now and some of my recent favourites include Wonder by R J Palacio and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Other all time favourites include The L Shaped Room, The Diaries of Adrian Mole, The Stand (Stephen King) and Behind the Scenes at the Museum (Kate Atkinson)
Your three favourite authors:
I’m sorry - these are a bit obvious – but I think they are so important
Dream writing location?
In a country house, in my own study facing a beautiful (well kept) garden). I can picture floor to ceiling bookshelves and no children at my feet screaming, “Mum, can I...?”
Tips for other writers?
These are my tips. I’m sorry I can’t keep it to just one!
• Really understand your market. Read around it. Don’t stop reading, it’ll fuel you.
• Never send out your work too early. Read through it. Put it away for a bit. Then read it again. You will spot things (believe me – I did!)
• Find beta-readers (other writers that can read your work on a reciprocal basis) and listen to their feedback. Are there things you can change? Strengthen?
• Don’t take criticism to heart.
• Never, EVER, give up. I nearly did several times...