My first foray into publishing was in 2016 when I self-published Amelie and the Great Outdoors. I worried I might never have another idea again but luckily I found inspiration and Danny and the Dream Dog was published by Tiny Tree Children’s Books in 2018. My new picture book, Setsuko and the Song of the Sea, is due for publication in 2020.
A long-time picture book obsessive, I set up and run Picture Book Club as a group for grown-ups like me. Members get to hang out with industry professionals and eat cake in bookshops after hours! Soon the club will make a transfer to the small screen with a series of YouTube shorts for children, produced in conjunction with author-illustrator Steve Antony.
I’ve recently also been having some middle grade adventures with a year 7 book club in a local school. Together we worked to develop a 45,000 word story, writing 1-2 chapters per week.
I am a registered WI speaker and love introducing audiences to a behind-the-scenes view of children’s publishing. Since the publication of Danny, I’ve really enjoyed being involved in school visits, writing workshops, festivals and other bookish events up and down the country.
We’ve got a wonderful team in place for the Portsmouth Write Mentor weekend. On Saturday, we’ll be leaning a little more towards middle grade writing and there is an opportunity to book a 1-2-1 with the fabulous Vashti Hardy. In the morning we’ll look at finding inspiration with ideas on where to look for stories seeds and how to identify and develop potential content. In the afternoon, we’ll be using props and a bit of (optional!) dressing up to look at character development.
On Sunday, author-illustrator Neal Layton will be joining our workshop on working with illustrators. We’ll be looking at using illustration in picture books all the way up to texts for older readers. In the afternoon, we’ll finish with an interactive workshop on editing, pitching and querying and there’s the chance of a 1-2-1 with my wonderful agent Alice Williams.
There’ll also be lots of space to write as well as the chance of a weekend away from other distractions is too good an opportunity to miss! I can promise a fun, relaxed and supportive atmosphere. I absolutely can’t wait and really look forward to meeting some of you in Portsmouth in February. I mostly hang out on twitter @Fi_BGB or on facebook @FionaWritesBooks if you’ve got any questions.