A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
RACHEL WARD’S BIG BOOK DEAL MOMENT
I’m really nosy and obsessed with people’s BIG BOOK DEAL moments and thought it would be a good idea to peek into the lives of the Author Allsorts and hear theirs. First up is the lovely Rachel Ward.
Rhian: Had you thought about where you’d be and what you’d say when you got your first book deal? Was it something you had already played out in your mind?
Rachel: Haha, I’m the sort of person that constantly plays out imaginary good and bad scenes in my mind! Can’t remember the details now, but I’m pretty sure the reality was better.
Rhian: Where were you when you got the call/email and what were you doing?
Rachel: Difficult to pinpoint the actual moment. It started by meeting Imogen Cooper via the Frome Festival and her saying she loved the first three chapters of Numbers and would like to see the rest.
Rhian: Those first three chapters are so crucial aren’t they? Clearly yours were good! What happened next?
Rachel: I can remember that day almost minute by minute. It was very hot and sunny and Frome has never looked lovelier. The next day I took the whole manuscript to Chicken House HQ in Frome and met Barry Cunningham. He quizzed me on all sorts of things (my writing ambition, etc.) and I was very shy and had no idea what the ‘right’ answers were. I handed over my manuscript and tottered out into the sunshine, down the hill and straight into Boots to buy Diet Coke and Immodium.
Rhian: Very rock n roll! I’m hoping this isn’t where the story ends…
Rachel: About a month later, Barry rang to set up a meeting to discuss Numbers. He, Imogen and I met in the Francis Hotel in Bath and talked for an hour or so. I was a bit overwhelmed by the end of it all, but had gained the impression that they wanted to publish it and an offer was imminent. The offer came by email a little while later. OMG, just typing all this again has me smiling.
Rhian: Me too! I LOVE these moments.
Rachel: I knew, when I set out for Frome that first time that it was a day that might change my life … and it did!
Rhian: Can you remember what your response was to those magic words?
Rachel: When I actually got the offer by email, instead of typing what I was thinking (‘YES, YES, A MILLION TIMES YES!’), I replied positively but said that I would get back to them when I had read through the contract and had it checked out. How flippin’ sensible is that?
Rhian: Very sensible, I’m impressed! So who was the first person you told about your book deal?
Rachel: I always tell my husband, Ozzy, good news first. So, after meeting Imogen, and after the Francis Hotel meeting I rang him and burbled incoherently down the phone.
Rhian: That’s a fabulous story and one that shows you it is all about getting in front of the right people as well as being able to tell a good story. And how have subsequent book deal moments compared to that first one?
Rachel: To be honest, I’ve never really expected this to be a career and I’ve always counted my blessings, so each new deal is a surprise and delight. The first deal sticks in my mind, though, and always will do. The three significant days are probably in my Top 10 days of my life.
Rhian: Did you do anything/buy anything to mark that first book deal moment?
Rachel: I can’t remember! Knowing me, there may have been a takeaway, a cup of tea or a bag of Maltesers involved.
Rhian: Maltesers, Diet Coke and takeaways (I’ll pass on the Immodium!) I’m liking your style.
Rachel: These days, I try to celebrate a bit more with a bit of glamming up and a meal out when I get good news (which would actually be my advice to new writers – Remember to celebrate the good times).
Such good advice to end on especially for any writers out there facing the submission process, edits, rewriting and all the endless ‘why do I do this?’ moments. Celebrate the good times!
Rachel Ward grew up in Bookham, Surrey. After school she studied Geography at Durham University and combined working for a number of local authorities with raising a family. She began writing in her 30’s, starting out with short stories. One of these short stories formed the first chapter of NUMBERS, which has been published in 26 countries and was the winner of several awards including the Flemish Children and Youth Literature Prize 2011, Angus Book Awards 2010 and the Salisbury Schools Book Award 2012, as well as being shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2009, the Branford Boase Award 2010 and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturepreis 2011.
The sequel to NUMBERS 2: THE CHAOS was released in June 2010 and the third and final book in the series, NUMBERS 3: INFINITY was released in June 2011.
THE DROWNING, the first book in a new series of gritty, paranormal thrillers was published in May.
Both NUMBERS and THE DROWNING have been optioned by film companies.
Rachel lives in Bath, Somerset with her husband, two children, dog and four chickens.
Rhian Ivory was found on the slushpile at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. The slightly quirky title of her first novel ‘When Isla meets Luke meets Isla’ caught the eye of a commissioning editor and 4 book deals followed writing under her maiden name, Rhian Tracey.
Rhian’s new YA novel The Boy who drew the Future will be published by Firefly Press, September 2015.
The Boy who drew the Future is about witches, the workhouse and water.
Rhian has always wanted to be a writer but was told to get a proper job, so she trained as a teacher. Rhian currently lectures in Creative Writing and Children’s literature but spends as much time as possible on her non-proper job, writing.
Rhian is Patron for Reading at Akeley Wood School, Buckinghamshire.
Rhian is also Writer in Residence for The National Trust.
Rhian is represented by Kirsty McLachlan of David Godwin Associates.