A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
When people ask me how long I’ve been writing, I usually say since the autumn of 2007. That was when I joined a weekly adult education class in creative writing and wrote my first short story. It’s the right answer to their question, but my journey towards being a writer started long before that. The first step on the path was being a reader.
My first memories of books involve learning to read at school. To be quite honest, I was deeply unimpressed by the early reading books inflicted on me. ‘See the boats. Look, John. See the boats.’
Fortunately, after the first few painful weeks, I discovered the school library. Teachers made well-meaning attempts to keep me to the books for my age group with simple words, but I ignored them. The books labelled as too difficult or too unsuitable were, I found, the most interesting. I set off on a joyful exploration of the world of real, interesting books. There were libraries, my father’s books, and I gradually accumulated books of my own, both new ones and already well-read treasures from second hand bookshops. I became the kid who always had her nose in a book.
I’ve been searching through the bookshelves (currently about 260 feet of them!) for some of those old books. Just looking at the covers brings back memories. I can’t remember the exact age I was when I first read most of them, but there are definitely a group that date from the time before I changed school at eleven years old. I was journeying to Narnia through the magic wardrobe before a teacher read us the start of the Hobbit. That introduction made me hunt down and read the rest of that book, and then move on to the Lord of the Rings.
Other books belong to the few years after I changed school. I explored new amazing worlds. The dragons of Pern, the Witch World, the Ringworld and Hothouse. I was awed by the expert dreamers who told those stories. I imagined my own worlds, sometimes scribbled a few paragraphs, but never seriously thought of being an author myself. It seemed far too impossible an idea.
As an adult, life was busy with the demands of work and family. Eventually, an illness gave me the time to start thinking seriously about writing. I joined a creative writing class, wrote some short stories, and then tried my hand at something longer.
Now, incredibly, I’m sitting and looking at books with my name on the cover. The UK and Commonwealth paperback of EARTH GIRL published by Harper Voyager. The USA hardback published by Pyr. The German translation published by Rowohlt.
This is the first book in a trilogy, so there will be more books soon. The sequel, EARTH STAR, will be out in the UK and Commonwealth in August 2013, in German in September 2013, and in the USA in early 2014.
I’ve been asked what authors inspired me, which is hard to answer with specific names. I’ve read thousands of books, written by hundreds of authors, and in their way they all inspired me. Even the few I really didn’t like were blended in with the rest, forming the foundations to my writing.
So thank you to all of them, all of the expert dreamers who introduced me to their characters and took me exploring their worlds. The people who trained me to be an apprentice dreamer myself.
Janet Edwards lives in England. As a child, she read everything she could get her hands on, including a huge amount of science fiction and fantasy. She studied Maths at Oxford, and went on to suffer years of writing unbearably complicated technical documents before deciding to write something that was fun for a change. She has a husband, a son, a lot of books, and an aversion to housework.
Find out more about her and her EARTH GIRL trilogy at www.janetedwards.com