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…
WORDS & PICTURES INTERVIEW
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!)”