Saturday, 18 February 2012

RACHEL LATHAM: One of the Twelve Voices Chosen for SCBWI-BI's Undiscovered Voices Anthology 2012

* Congratulations, Rachel, 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.

Hello all. I think I’ll start by saying that when I got the phone call telling me that I’d been shortlisted for the Undiscovered Voices Anthology that I actually squealed very loudly down the phone. It was a moment of pure joy. It meant the world to me to know that a panel of judges actually thought that I could write and that others in the publishing world might think the same.

I started writing at school in English language classes. I tried to channel my vivid imagination into words, but have always found that hard as I tend to see scenes unfold in my head like a film and they can be hard to capture and get down on paper. When I was at college I tried to write a pure science fiction story which was Blade Runner by any other name, along with a fair bit of Isaac Asimov mixed in. I abandoned it early on and didn’t try to write again for nearly a decade.

After my oldest daughter was born I went to a couple of adult education creative writing courses and rediscovered my love for trying to create dialogue and imagery. I then spent 4-5 years writing another fantasy story and screwed up the courage to send it to Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. They were very kind and didn’t laugh, said I had potential as a writer, but would probably be better off writing something new. And so ‘To Dance With The Wind’ got it’s beginning. I then spent nearly 5 years working with Cornerstones honing my skills and learning all the hard stuff such as ‘show not tell,’ keeping to one point of view and trying to find the emotional centre and integrity of a character.

And then came the email flagging up the Undiscovered Voices 2012 competition and I thought, ‘that’s for me I’ll give it a go.’ By then I knew my fantasy world of dragons, The Craven, a winged girl and Machiavellian unicorns had something to offer the imaginations of older children. I’d found my confidence in my voice as a writer and in the universe I’d created.

So I’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the judges for picking my voice and my story. WooHah!!

* Could you tell our readers all about your winning entry and why they are going to love it!

To Dance With The Wind is pure fantasy, set in a world of my creation where I get to make up the rules on magic and talking beasts.

It is a dark place initially. Suffering and cruelty are all that my heroine, Plackett, has ever known, but then she meets a dying unicorn who tells her that her future can be different, if she chooses to join forces with ‘the creature hidden in darkness.’ This creature turns out to be a juvenile dragon and they manage to escape, making their way to the dragon homeland where Plackett learns she is one of the lost race called the Freya . She is soon to grow wings and when she does she will fall victim to a terrible curse. She vows to find a way to undo the curse and find her people.

It’s a story about bravery, determination and what can be done by a group of loyal if unusual companions. But above all it has dragons because I’ve always wanted to write about them.



...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!


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.

Competition Deadline: 
Midnight 29th February 2012, UK time.


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