My story is on the SCBWI website!

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Oooh, I have just been featured on the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) website.

They asked me how to tell the story of how my first published book came about, and why it turned out to be a non-fiction title rather than my long dreamed of children’s novel.

You can read my story on the Words & Pictures site or continue below…


This is the story of how my first published book turned out to be non-fiction rather than my long-dreamed-of children’s novel…

“I always wanted to write novels. As a kid I used to sit for hours and write and illustrate books about fire-breathing monsters. But then I grew up and realised I had better knuckle down and do something ‘sensible’, like be a Supermarket Store Manager. (Yes, this was my first job. It was AWFUL).

Ten years and several soul-destroying jobs later, I was a personal trainer and healthcare copywriter. But I still dreamed of writing a children’s book. I had sent three picture books manuscripts to agents (all rejected). And I realised that if I didn’t do something drastic soon, I would be looking back over my life with one humungous regret.

So I took a deep breath, and in 2013 I moved to the sea, started temping in a publishing company, and began writing a children’s novel in my spare time. Twenty thousand words into my novel, the publishers threw me a curveball: I had been writing sample content for their health title, they liked my writing and asked if I would be interested in being commissioned to write a small book about the dangers of sugar.

My initial reaction was Me? Are you sure? I had been writing health, fitness and nutrition articles for years. But a whole book? Hmm… After a few days’ deliberation, I decided it was too good an opportunity to miss. (Plus I was sneakily hoping it would boost my confidence when it came to finishing my novel.)

I signed the contract and spent the next few months manically researching and writing about sugar. It was hard work but great fun; for the first time I felt like I had a real purpose. I was a little sad that my first published book wouldn’t be my children’s novel, but when I held a copy of Oh Sugar! in my hands for the first time a few days ago, and saw my name on the front cover, it more than made up for any disappointment.

Looking back on the whole experience, I’m so glad I took the plunge and went for it. For starters, I can now say I am a writer/author without feeling like a complete fraud! But more importantly, something inside me has changed. I set out on a mission to write a book and I did it. This has given me a huge amount of confidence. I’m now (excitedly) turning my attention back to my children’s book and I have an idea brewing for another non-fiction title. (This time it’s a book about writing, rather than nutrition. Phew!)”


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