“Isolation is hard but now when I write, I’m alone but I don’t feel alone. Being part of a community means you can reach out to like-minded people when you need to and share the process with them. It honestly does make all the difference.”

Author Tracy Curran is celebrating the publication of her debut Picture Book Pumpkin’s Fairytale – and it’s the writing community that has helped her get there

Tell us about your writing journey from start until now, and your book, Pumpkin’s Fairytale

Becoming a writer of children’s books was my childhood dream from a really early age. I was an avid reader and wrote constantly but then, when I hit my teens, life started to get in the way. After uni, I needed a secure job and so I became a primary school teacher, which kept me really busy for a long time. 

I returned to writing in 2017, after having my own children. Pumpkin’s Fairytale was a picture book manuscript I wrote fairly early on but my craft needed a lot of work so I took numerous courses and kept trying to improve it. Eventually, it listed in competitions and even got agent attention, although unfortunately not enough to be offered representation. However, I still loved it and submitted it on a whim to a new indie publisher called Final Chapter. Thankfully, they also loved it and offered to publish it within a week of my submission. 

How have you been involved in WriteMentor?

I’ve been involved with WriteMentor for a few years now. I honestly can’t remember how I stumbled across it but I’m so glad I did because it has been a game changer. Through WriteMentor I’ve done courses, WOWCON, writing weekends and met so many writing friends. I was shortlisted in the 2020 WNCNA and longlisted in 2021 with several manuscripts. Now, after being awarded a 12-month scholarship for membership to the WMHub, I’m enjoying everything that has to offer. 

How has your experience with WriteMentor supported your writing career?

WriteMentor and the support of Stuart and the team has been instrumental in getting to where I am today. Funding writing opportunities is a big challenge now that I’m a carer instead of a teacher and WriteMentor are very generous with their costings. It also feels like a genuine family where everyone cares about each other’s journeys, and it recognises the importance of getting professional feedback. Agent 121s and Spark mentoring are amazing for this. 

What is your best piece of writing advice?

Just keep going and take every opportunity. Lots of people thought I was on track to getting an agent and told me ‘it was just a matter of time’. Their belief in me was truly wonderful but actually that still hasn’t happened. Sometimes your journey takes unexpected twists and opportunities come from unexpected places. Pumpkin’s Fairytale is a definite example of this because I just didn’t see it coming. Final Chapter and the illustrator, Wayne Oram, have done a wonderful job with it and I’m so thankful to them. 

Why do you think being part of a writing community is so important?

Well, I’m a bit of a loner and so, when I stopped teaching, I thought sitting on my own with my laptop while the children were at school would be a dream come true. It wasn’t. It was only after I started to connect with the WriteMentor community that I really started to enjoy it. Isolation is hard but now when I write, I’m alone but I don’t feel alone. Being part of a community means you can reach out to like-minded people when you need to and share the process with them. It honestly does make all the difference. 

Twitter: @WriterCornish

Read more from Tracy Curran…

Come and join Pumpkin. He’s off on a mission…

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