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Greetings! Why did it take me so long to find this place? Hello, Colonists, pleased to meet you.

#1
Hola from the Costa Blanca where I've recently relocated from Bristol, UK.
I've written two children's books so far and I'm doing my best to find some representation. I'm also busy plotting Book Three as and when I can fit it around a nearly full-time job (teacher/administrator/publicist at an international school) and a more-than-full-time job as mother-of-two and wife-of-one.
It's fantastic to find a place of mutual support to writers, like this one – I'm very much looking forward to getting to know you and benefitting from the trove of experience here. And maybe helping out too, where I can (I've spent my whole career writing – nigh on twenty years as a BBC broadcast journalist).
Here's to a beautiful and productive relationship. Cheers!
 
#11
Welcome to the Colony, KateESal. If I lived on the Costa Blanca, I wouldn't get any writing done. It's only the miserable British weather (apart from a few days like today,) that keeps me indoors tapping away at the keyboard.
 
#12
Welcome to the Colony, KateESal. If I lived on the Costa Blanca, I wouldn't get any writing done. It's only the miserable British weather (apart from a few days like today,) that keeps me indoors tapping away at the keyboard.
Heh, the miserable British weather as a spur to creativity!

Once the novelty of sunshine wears off, I find the compulsion to be out in it all the time isn't quite as irresistable. And anyway, it's too flippin' hot.

Mind you, most days I'm lucky enough to be able to sit outside on our terrace and write with the laptop perched on my knees and an iced coffee within reach.
Believe me, the novelty of THAT hasn't worn off yet.

But before you curse me for outrageous smuggery, this weekend has been rather on the cool side with cloud and rain.
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
Patron
#16
Hi Kate, welcome to the Colony! :)

Bristol -- check.
BBC broadcast (online editor) -- check
Spain -- check
Two kids -- check

It seems the paths we've beaten were in the same wood. :)
 
#17
Ooh, that's intriguing, @Rich.
When were you in Bristol and when (and where) were you doing BBC Online? (Feel free to PM me if you don't want too many details of your life story to be published online)
And where were you in Spain? We spent two and a half years in Madrid before returning to Bristol, then coming out to Costa Blanca a few years later...
Questions, questions. Sorry, the old journo habits die hard. :)
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
Patron
#18
No worries. Journalists and writers, questions, questions, questions. :)

I was in Bristol in the early-to-mid 2000s working for an independent broadcast-TV post-production company. Our biggest client by far was the BBC Natural History Unit. I was an online editor in the sense of 'technical video editor' for broadcast telly.
As for Spain, I've been here for eleven years (Spanish other half – one of us had to move). We've been working our way out from the centre of Madrid since we arrived and are currently up in the Sierra Norte (wonderful for the kids).

What kind of journalism were you doing in Bristol and what brought you back to España? :)
 
#19
Ah, THAT kind of editor! Well, if you were based around Whiteladies Road, we may well have walked past each other at some point, as I was at the Beeb there at that time. Just across the carpark from the NHU in local and regional broadcasting. Local radio and telly were my main jobs, especially the former (reporter/producer/newsreader etc).
And it was the referendum that brought us back to Spain – a quick scurry back to the mainland while the door is still open.
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
Patron
#20
Whiteladies indeed (just off) -- Films@59 -- up from the NHU (used to drink in the Vittoria). Small world. :)
I can understand your referendum reaction. I'll be staying outside once they raise the drawbridge. I must admit it chafes to have been forced to make a choice. But there it is.

Anyway, I'll step back from that conversational rabbit hole.

I look forward to seeing some of your writing (once you've been here a week and posted 20 times you'll get access to the Writing Groups). You mentioned in another thread that you're a fan of Neil Gaiman. I don't know if his influence is apparent in your children's books, but I'm certainly intrigued. :)
 
#21
Films@59 on Cotham Hill....yes indeed! I've always said Bristol is basically a big village, but I hadn't realised that held true even in Spain.

Brexit...yes, well. As you say. Meh.

As for the writing, @Rich. I took a particular interest in your fantasy thread because I'm also working on a character-driven fantasy series – only mine is aimed at readers aged 7+
There might be the odd spot of Gaiman influence in there, but if I'm honest, the influences and inspirations for these stories are more readily found in Alice In Wonderland and Enid Blyton's Enchanted Wood trilogy, mulched together with some Jasper Fforde (have you read his fantasies? the Thursday Next series is a lot of fun), Terry Pratchett and Anne of Green Gables.
I'm having a blast writing it, I can tell you.
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
Patron
#22
I bet you are – kids' fantasy is the purist kind, I reckon (and the best ones never lose their appeal). I'm not familiar with Jasper Fforde, no, but the classics you mention I am. And Terry Pratchett, well, I'm a huge fan.

My kids are still young, so we've only got as far as Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – they love it and I'd rate it as one of my all-time favourites. You can't beat a good bit of wonder. :)
 
#23
If you like Terry Pratchett, then there's a good chance you'd enjoy Jasper Fforde too. I think I'd better add that one to your fantasy thread... Fforde's very much on the humorous wing of fantasy, like Pratchett and indeed, say, Douglas Adams. Absurdist and daft, but clever too.

It's great having young children because you get to rediscover some childhood reading faves and enter a world which is so much more richly stocked than when we were young.

I probably read as many YA and children's books now as I do those aimed at adults. My main alibi is market research, but actually, I just enjoy reading them. There are plenty that are dross, of course, but a great deal are great reads in their own right, no matter how old the reader.

One thing I've learned about writing for children is how plot has to be the main driver. You can't get away with self-indulgence or sloppiness, kids are easily bored. Luckily, I have an excellent book tester and critic in the shape of my voraciously-reading eight-year-old. Every time I redraft one of my books, I upload it to her e-reader and she lets me know if the revisions have improved it (or not). So far, so good!
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
Patron
#24
Sounds like you've got the best critic possible! (Makes me think – a little tangentially – of Stanley Unwin giving his son a copy of The Hobbit. Ten-year-old Rayner wrote a favourable report, so daddy published. And, well... Tolkien happened.)
 
#25
...and when Nigel Newton of Bloomsbury showed his daughter, Alice the first couple of chapters of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone it was her favourable review that convinced him to go ahead and publish. The rest, as they say...
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
Patron
#26
I didn't know that! How lovely!

But then, I suppose, using kids to judge kids' books. Who knew? Right?
 
#27
Crazy, huh?! Far too young to know what they like, I mean come on ;)
Julia Eccleshare's Lovereading4kidsUK is a website I particularly like because there's a section of book reviews by young readers.
TBH, I would rather have their endorsements on the cover of one of my own books than, say, that of a fellow author. No disrespect to fellow authors, but the problem with the "I scratch your back, you scratch mine..." code is that it leads to some pretty unreliable big-ups. I've stopped trusting author endorsements, including those by authors I really rate because I've so often been disappointed by the novel they've glowingly praised. Now, a troop of 8 year-olds saying they loved a novel aimed at their age-group strikes me as a much better indicator.
That said, if JK gave a few lines of thumbs-up for a book I'd written, I don't think I'd chuck it in the bin, somehow.
 
#28
Crazy, huh?! Far too young to know what they like, I mean come on ;)
Julia Eccleshare's Lovereading4kidsUK is a website I particularly like because there's a section of book reviews by young readers.
TBH, I would rather have their endorsements on the cover of one of my own books than, say, that of a fellow author. No disrespect to fellow authors, but the problem with the "I scratch your back, you scratch mine..." code is that it leads to some pretty unreliable big-ups. I've stopped trusting author endorsements, including those by authors I really rate because I've so often been disappointed by the novel they've glowingly praised. Now, a troop of 8 year-olds saying they loved a novel aimed at their age-group strikes me as a much better indicator.
That said, if JK gave a few lines of thumbs-up for a book I'd written, I don't think I'd chuck it in the bin, somehow.
Your comment about J. K. Rowling giving one of your books an endorsement had me wondering if that's the sort of thing writing's first billionaire does. I don't recall seeing her name on any book covers, but searching for an answer, I found this article on her favourite books, which is rather revealing:

Here are all of J.K. Rowling's favorite books
 
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