Monday, 13 February 2012

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

* Congratulations, Veronica, 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.

The brilliant thing about an Imaginary World is that everybody in it is there by your own invitation. If you don't like them, you dismiss them - or you make something truly horrible happen to them. In what way isn't this better than Reality?

That was certainly my view as a child - especially once I found myself at boarding school. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't Dotheboys Hall (no boys, for one thing), but boarding school is not a good place for a less-than-sporty, bespectacled loner, which is what I was.

At 11, I already had my first rejection slip (don't ask!). Mostly, I wrote plays, which I bullied my friends into performing, keeping the best parts for myself. The pinnacle of my dramatic career was an eponymous role in The Magnelephantom, for which I got to paint myself green and die on stage. I wrote a lot of death scenes...

At boarding school, I wrote for comfort. It was my escape. At 12, I penned the tragic tale of Trog the Troglodyte, and his woolly rhinoceros, Grerk. I remember reading Grerk's death scene (told you) to my friend, Holly. She wept. Real tears. (Holly was famously softhearted; it was ridiculously easy to make her cry. Even so - it was my first taste of what it felt like to manipulate somebody's emotions with the written word. Power!)

After that, it all went downhill. Hormones kicked in, and I thought I could write Romantic Novels. I couldn't. Total twaddle. After that I wasted the better part of 10 years writing a novel on the Trojan War. Epic twaddle.

I was saved by motherhood - a ticket back into childhood. My son was a reluctant reader. The sort of books he would read had to include monsters, ghosts, blood, slime, the workings of the digestive system, very bad jokes... I loved them. I began to want to write them...

My son's grown up now. Sadly, I haven't.

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

Dragons Do. Dodos Don't.

Dragons do exist; dodos don't - except for Daphne, who got a bit left behind.

At Wormestall Farm, Daphne has her own dog bed in the kitchen, where she is sitting on eggs that aren't hers. Nobody's counting their chickens, because the eggs didn't come out of a hen...

Daphne's not the only one at Wormestall who has no place in today's world. There's ancient Grissel, who once met St George and didn't like him, a baby Kraken living in the toilet and Mortifer, who's gone missing. There's also Lo, typical moody teenager who just happens to have wings and a knack for controlling the weather.

George's father has gone, leaving him alone in a house full of women. Prudence is stuck with Diamond, her taxidermist stepmother. Wormestall becomes a refuge for both of them. They're not sure they like each other, but there are more important things at stake: Diamond is looking for something to stuff - something that's never been stuffed before...

There are a lot of (very good) dystopian novels coming out, reflecting the general conviction that We're All Doomed. Perhaps we are, but it's not the kids' fault. Let's not get them too depressed. Dodos is my personal antidote to gloom. A happy book. With some partially digested body parts. And stuffing.



...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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