* Congratulations, Jane, on achieving a coveted place in Undiscovered Voices 2012! and welcome to tall tales & short stories.
The floor is yours, please tell us all about yourself, your writing journey and anything else you'd like to add.
I’d love to be able to say I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but that’s not quite true.
When I was young, I did write – mainly what the teachers asked me to, although I remember the thrill of reading out my stories in class. In my early teens I wrote and drew comics with my friends. They were fantasy versions of our day-to-day lives, quirky and a bit surreal. After that I wrote essays, letters, job applications and scripts for TV documentaries. And although there was a fair amount of story-telling involved, it wasn’t really what I wanted to be doing.
I’d been mulling over an idea for a screenplay, but when I began to try and write, the idea didn’t fit the format. It was a contemporary take on Little Red Riding Hood, set in a housing estate. After a disastrous day in a screenwriting workshop where I spent most of the time feeling stupid and drawing pictures, I wondered whether I should try and tell my story in a different way? It was reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy that really fired me up.
So, I began with this character and a situation and a rough idea of where it was going and I guess I thought it was brilliant. By the time I’d finished, I knew it wasn’t. I buried this story and began working on another idea. This time the setting and characters and my heroine’s inner world felt much more vivid to me. I wrote the story. I sent it to Cornerstones who pointed out the problems with the meshing of historical and supernatural. So I rewrote it. It’s called The Executioner’s Child. And though I had some anxieties about the book’s direction, this summer I entered an extract for the SCBWI’s Undiscovered Voices competition.
It’s amazing to have been selected for the anthology. I still can’t quite believe it and want to thank Sara Grant and Sara O’Connor for having the brilliant idea in the first place and Elizabeth Galloway and Karen Ball who, along with the Saras make it all happen.
* Could you tell our readers all about your winning entry and why they are going to love it!
The Executioner’s Child is a fast-paced historical adventure with attitude, atmosphere and plenty of made up Tudor swear-words.
Twelve-year old Moss hates her life. Her father is an executioner. She’s a prisoner, longing for a means of escape. But when she discovers a hidden tunnel, she also unearths a terrible secret. A bargain, made by her Pa years ago, promising her soul to a river creature.
It’s the story of a girl who goes in search of freedom, but discovers she’s prepared to sacrifice that and more to save the people she loves.
A very important part of my story is the river. It brings wealth to Tudor London and hope to Moss as a means of escape. But it’s a wilder river than we know today, dangerous and full of superstition. I wanted to imagine what happens when superstition and legend come to life. For me, there’s nothing more magical than that blurry place between the real and the imagined. I remember the feeling as a child, of wanting to believe – of willing the imaginary to be real and losing myself in a story. That’s what makes me want to write.
...WIN a copy of Undiscovered Voices, by Working Partners & SCWBI-BI.
Your chance to read all the selected excerpts, see the fabulous illustrations
and read what the judges had to say!
WE HAVE TWO COPIES TO GIVE AWAY!
It’s easy to enter -- Here's what to do!
• Leave a comment on the blog; say hi, leave your name and tell us if you'd like to be entered for the draw.
If you want to leave your email address that's great, if not, we'll be announcing the winners after midday on the 1st March, UK time. So make sure to check in here and on twitter.
All entries go into a hat and TWO winners will be chosen at random.
Sorry, but this competition is open to UK entrants only.
Midnight 29th February 2012, UK time.