Sunday, 17 November 2013

How I got Published.....(the short version)

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
Jacqueline Wilson
Roald Dahl
Stephen King

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...

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