A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
This time last year I was an almost full-time writer- almost but still not quite. The plunge hadn’t been taken. On Thursdays I was still dragging myself into school to teach when my heart and soul really weren’t in it. For the rest of the week I was doing author things- oh, and marking, doing lesson prep, and dreading how soon Thursday would come round again. For most of my teaching career I’d loved the job. There was never a dull moment. I got to share a subject I was passionate about. But at some point I fell out of love with it. And teaching isn’t a job you can do half-heartedly- I felt guilty: the kids deserved better, my school needed better. So you could say I was looking for a way out.
I already had two books published with Faber, and was adding the finishing touches to In Darkling Wood, my third Faber book, the first on a new three book contract. All was going well. The books were selling, feedback was good. But the money… oh the money. I couldn’t live on my author income alone.
Fast forward to February.
An email came through from my ‘maternity cover’ agent, Jane. Chicken House wanted me to write a book for their Big Idea competition winner. Would I consider it? Would I at least meet them for lunch to talk it through?
So I did. It was a great lunch with two lovely, lovely people. The project was exciting- just the sort of thing I knew I’d have great fun writing. But this situation I found myself in was totally unexpected. It threw me, rather. I felt torn between Faber who I adore working with, and Chicken House who were offering something new and thrilling.
After a few fretful weeks, it sorted itself out. I found myself with a Chicken House deal AND another Faber deal. And though I’m not great at maths, I reckoned I could FINALLY afford to leave teaching.
This was perhaps my biggest change/shift/achievement in 2015. But lots of other exciting things happened too. There was Hay Festival, teaching on an Arvon course, YAShot, UKMG Extravangza, the Just So Festival, The Snow Sister Reading Agency tour… so many wonderful times meeting authors, bloggers, booksellers, book and twitter folk.
The Girl Who Walked On Air sold to China and Taiwan. Frost Hollow Hall won the Hillingdon Book Award. In Darkling Wood was published, and was The Bookseller’s Book of the Month for July ( thank you Fiona Noble!). In September In Darkling Wood was sold to Delacorte in the US- my FIRST American deal! In October The Snow Sister came out, and in November I did a whole month of countrywide author events- all brilliant fun, but I’ll be happy not to see another Premier Inn for a while. 2015 was, all told, a good writing year.
As for 2016, I’m already busy. The Chicken House book is due in March. Another Faber book is due at the end of July. At the start of July, Strange Star comes out. And, there’s another little project I’m part of, which currently is secret but is VERY exciting.
So 2016 is shaping up very nicely. But as us writers tend to dwell on the negatives., I know I’ll still be thinking about that bad review/prize I didn’t get shortlisted for/Amazon ranking in the millions. The doubts will creep in. I’ll be rubbish. Untalented. Lacking in ideas. And for that, at least, there’s twitter.
Website, Goodreads, Twitter
Emma Carroll writes MG fiction. Her debut ‘Frost Hollow Hall’, a Victorian ghost story, won the North East Book Award 2013 and was longlisted for the Branford Boase. Her second novel ‘The Girl Who Walked On Air’ has been nominated for the CILIP medal. Her latest book ‘In Darkling Wood’ is inspired by the Cottingley Fairies photographs, and was published by Faber in July 2015. In another life she wishes she’d written ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. Emma lives in the Somerset hills with her husband and two terriers.