I’ve had a busy few weeks. I visited 500 children at St Margaret Mary’s Junior School in Huyton, the children were amazing. The school promotes reading a lot and this showed in the work the children produced. I was blown away by the imaginations of the Y3 and Y4 children I worked with. The Y5 and Y6 pupils were really interested in finding out what press conferences are like and how I go about interviewing people.
Later this week, I’m heading to Victoria Road Primary School in Northwich and I can’t wait. I think doing author talks is the best thing about being an author because I get to inspire children. I love it when children (and teachers) come up to me after one of my assemblies and say that my talk has really moved them.
January has been a very busy month so I apologise for not blogging for a few weeks. I had the pleasure of going down to Cornwall to do an author talk at St Mary’s C of E Primary School in Penzance and I popped into Falmouth uni to catch up with my old tutors. It was lovely to see Susy, Tom and the rest of the Professional Writing gang and I even bumped into two people who studied on my course with me. We’d not seen each other for eight and a half years!!!!
While I was there I was able to go and listen to an author talk given by Katherine Woodfine (and her agent). Katherine talked about how she went about getting her agent and first publishing deal for ‘The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.’ I managed to get the best seat in the lecture room (on the first row, directly opposite Katherine). I found the whole talk so interesting, as a non-fiction writer it was fascinating to find out the journey a fiction author goes on. Katherine spent months writing her book, then once she had an agent they spent a year perfecting it and making a lot of changes, then she managed to get a publishing deal and it took another year of work before it was ready to be printed. I was full of admiration for Katherine because she worked so hard and never gave up.
It made me realise how blessed I was to have an agent and publisher for Robert Pattinson A-Z just a week after sending a few emails. It came out about five months later and the whole process was pain-free. I now write on average three books a year and I get to see them in shops just a few months after writing them.
Since coming home to Widnes I’ve been working with some talented children from St Michael’s school every Wednesday afternoon. We’re writing a book on inspirational people together and we’re having a blast. The children are so excited and are so bright, they have loads of great ideas. Some of the children are working on their first books at home in their spare time – they are so driven and have a thirst for knowledge. Wednesday afternoons are now the highlight of my week – I love every minute I spend at the school.
At church I’m delighted to say that I have some new children in my Sunday School class so that’s really exciting. I’ve had to order some extra colouring books and puzzle books so we have enough to go round. We’ve been learning about Jonah and the children have loved acting out the story.
I’ve been thinking about what my next books could be so please watch this space, all will be revealed soon!
lots of love
PS Have you seen the new Star Wars film? I loved it and I’m hopefully going to see it for the second time next week.
Merry Christmas everybody, hope you all had a lovely time. I had a great Christmas and I’m feeling so blessed to have a wonderful family. I enjoyed singing in church on Christmas morning, going to my mum and dad’s for Christmas dinner and then visiting my friend Emily in the evening.
I wanted to share this picture – hope it makes you smile. Every year my sister takes photos of Lizzy at Christmas for a family calendar and this is one of the outtakes. I’m not quite sure what I’m saying/singing but it was probably Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
I’m very excited about what God has planned for me in 2016 – I hope to write lots more books and do lots of author talks in primary schools. I’m praying that more tots will join my Sunday School class as currently Lizzy is the only girl
Have you got anything exciting planned for 2016? I’m looking forward to my Taylor Swift book coming out on the 7th April. Originally it was going to be called Around the World with Taylor Swift but we’ve decided to change it to ‘Taylor Swift: Everything Has Changed.’ I love the title and the cover so much. Do you like it?
I wouldn’t have been able to write the book without the help of hundreds of Swifties from around the world. Every chapter in the book is a different country – approx. 30 countries in all. The book will be released worldwide and translated into different languages. If you want to preorder it, please visit Amazon or the leading book retailer in your country.
If you have helped with the book I want to say a massive THANK YOU. You are amazing.
Six years ago, I was the editor of a celebrity website which was the number 1 site for Robert Pattinson and Twilight news. Every day I wrote around six articles on Rob and the rest of the cast. One day, I decided to run a competition to find the number 1 Robert Pattinson fan in the world.
I can’t remember who won but after the closing date a woman called Sarah Barry Williams emailed me. She wanted to put her daughter Chariss forward but alas she’d missed the deadline. She told me that she’d written a song about her daughter’s love for Rob called She Wants to be Mrs Robert Pattinson. I thought the song was great and asked Sarah for her permission to write an article on her song. She agreed, not knowing that my article would bring her thousands of fans and change her life.
After my article was published, Sarah was inundated with requests from Rob’s fans wanting her to release the track and so she did. It did really well worldwide with thousands of people downloading She Wants to Be Mrs Robert Pattinson and she was inspired to write more Twilight inspired songs.
One of my favourites was the New Moon fan song:
Making Chariss’ dreams come true
Meeting Rob for the first time back in November 2009 was amazing and when I was invited to meet him again at the Remember Me press conference and premiere I was really excited. I wanted to see him again but I wanted to make Chariss’ dreams come true more. I emailed Sarah as soon as I could to tell her that I was giving up my place so that her daughter could meet the man of her dreams. Sarah couldn’t believe it.
I made Chariss a special badge, as she was representing my magazine and she tried to look older than her years as she was only sixteen and had to look at least eighteen to get past security. I needn’t have worried as Chariss was tall for her age and actually looked more grown up than me!
Even though I couldn’t go onto the red carpet because I’d given my pass to Chariss, I still made the trip from Widnes to London because I was eager to meet Sarah and Chariss, face to face. As soon as we saw each other we ran over and started hugging. We only chatted for a few minutes but it was worth the long trip.
It feels like only a year or so since I met Sarah and Chariss but it was actually 5 and a half years ago. We met on the 17th March 2010 and we’ve been friends ever since. We mightn’t speak very often but even if years pass between our emails it doesn’t matter. I support her and she supports me. We’re just two women, living our dreams.
This week I’ve been thinking about all the books I want to write in 2016. I really want to write some children’s fiction books and I’ve been brainstorming possible ideas. I love writing books so much that when I’ve not got a book to write I’m at a loose end. I’ve spoken to my agent Jennifer about my ideas and she’s going to speak to my editor Chris about them. I mightn’t hear back till after Christmas but that doesn’t stop me checking my emails every five minutes!
This week I’ve enjoyed two Christmas parties with my daughter, lots of dogs walks and met up with some writer friends. I think it’s really important for writers to meet up and discuss their writing projects. I’ve also written some travel blogs and looked at ways I would improve two websites. This is my freelance writing work and is something I really enjoy. I’ve always been good at social media so sometimes I help companies with their Facebook pages. Have you joined my Facebook page yet? I’ve only just set it up so please join if you like reading my books.
It might be Christmas next week but I’m not rushing around. I want to enjoy this time and remember what Christmas is all about. I don’t enjoy the commercial side of Christmas and prefer to spend my time doing crafts with my daughter, attending carol services and meeting up with friends and family.
Have you got anything exciting planned for Christmas? I wish I’d been able to go to the carol service at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary on Thursday night. I always keep up-to-date with what’s happening at the sanctuary and always remember John and his team, especially at this time of year. John never takes a day off and will be happily looking after his 80+ rescued donkeys on Christmas day. He really is a selfless man and I’m so glad that I got to write about his life in my book Pollyanne.
Pollyanne is a very special donkey who was going to be slaughtered to make salami but was rescued by John. She was in a bad way but John got her back to full fitness. She was chosen to be in the opera Carmen at the Royal Opera House and has also appeared in lots of TV shows including Not Going Out, Midsummer Murders and a magical trick show. (Pollyanne is 31 just like me so this always makes me smile). If you want to find out more about the book you can click here to read an article in the Daily Mail.
I haven’t managed to take my daughter Lizzy to meet everyone at the donkey sanctuary yet but I hope to take her in the spring, she’ll love it. She loves animals so she’ll love meeting the donkeys, ponies, chickens, goats and pig.
My favourite ever book signing was at the sanctuary when the book came out. So many people came that day. I signed the books, then John signed them and then Pollyanne signed them by stamping her hoof on them. It’ll probably be the most unusual book signing I’ll ever do for sure!
Here is a good video a man called Peter Crowther has posted on YouTube, it brings back many happy memories for me…
If you’re looking for a present to buy your Dad this Christmas then I can highly recommend the biography Marvellous – Neil Baldwin, My Story. I read the book in August and I couldn’t put it down.
I’d been keen to get my hands on a copy as I’d watched the Marvellous film on BBC 2 last year. It was one of the best things I’ve ever watched. The story was so compelling, I cried quite a few times and it left me smiling from ear to ear too. If you didn’t see it, then check out the trailer below:
Here’s a brief summary of the book (and Neil’s life):
Bishops and archbishops, top footballers, politicians and actors…they all count him as their friend. Prime Ministers and senior royals stop and listen to his opinions. He’s got an honorary degree and his very own football club. There was even a movie about him on national television. But who is Neil Baldwin? At Keele University they hold regular celebrations and chapel services for the decades he’s been the friend of students, academics and vice-chancellors. But he’s never been a student, or a teacher, or had any formal connection with the place. At Stoke City Football Club, he’s ‘more famous than the players.’ He’s even got a dialogue going with the Queen, though that one’s still a little one-sided. But who is he, and what’s he famous for? When he was a boy in a working-class part of the Potteries in the fifties and sixties, the education system wrote him off. But Neil thinks ‘you can get things by asking for them.’ He also thinks his late Mum wanted him to have a happy life, and it’s his duty to her to have one. So he does. This is the inspiring and, at times, hysterically funny story of Neil’s extraordinary life.
I loved the book, it was interesting to hear stories from Neil perspective and his famous friends too. I think Neil’s attitude to life is something we should all admire:
The world be a much better place if we all “put nasty things” behind us. Neil’s story is remarkable and this book is a must-read. At the start of this blog post I said it was ideal for dads but really anybody would enjoy reading this book. I hope I get to meet Neil one day and shake his hand… maybe I need to take a trip to Keele University!
Tonight my daughter ‘helped’ me sign copies of my books for the library at St Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Widnes. I had a great time giving an author talk there a few weeks ago and they wanted a full set of my book’s for the school library. I didn’t give them every book as some are too adult for them but I think they’ll love the thirteen I’ve picked out. I think the boys will love the Superheroes vs Supervillains A-Z and Justin Bieber books and I think the girls will love the One Direction books and Pollyanne.
Today has been a busy day but it’s been so much fun. I finished checking my second draft of my Taylor Swift book and emailed it across to my editor Chris first thing. I’m so excited about this book and can’t wait for it to be in stores. I want all the Swifties who’ve helped me to see the finished book ASAP. I wish I could hand-deliver a copy to each of them when the book comes out next spring. I would give them each a hug and we could dance to Shake It Off together!
After breakfast, I took my little girl to the tots group in my church (and we made snowman biscuits and reindeer food), then after picking up a Christmas present from the Post Office, I enjoyed cake and a chat with one of my best friends. This afternoon I worked on my website and went on a dog walk with my mum and two of her dogs. We went to Pex Hill which is a wood and quarry in my home town. It’s the best place to walk dogs because they can run free and enjoy mixing with other dogs. My little girl loves playing in the leaves and we always get muddy at this time of year. She was wearing a black and white cat outfit today so she looked soooooo cute.
PS I know our snowman melted a bit but he tasted yummy!
I’ve really enjoyed writing my Taylor Swift book and my first draft is now with my editor Chris.
This was the first time my daughter Lizzy has ‘helped’ and its been lots of fun. We’ve drawn lots of pictures together and played hide and seek under my desk. I think she’s going to be a Swiftie one day!