A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
This is more a sad tale of a project abandoning me. Years ago (eight?) my house was burgled and my computer was stolen. Stuck in the side of that computer was my memory stick (like I said, a long time ago) – I’d lost 70k plus of the first novel I’d ever written. I was traumatised. The closest (yet) I’ve come to divorcing my husband was when he said, with a nobody-died-shrug, “bad luck”. Bad luck? This was a catastrophe, I’d worked long dark hours on this project for years (and at my age every year counted).
I found some chapters recently. It wasn’t very good – turns out nobody had stolen any chance of literary glory from me after all. I could write it better now, but I won’t because I don’t want to write it anymore. A project can be right for one year and quite wrong for another. And I learned from it: I could write one chapter after another all the way until the end. But sometimes you shouldn’t go all the way to the end.
I’ve had false starts on other projects (both writing on my own and with Honor) – ideas that grabbed us…but then let go. Wanting to write something is a necessary ingredient not a luxury because it’s hard. And I’ve had false starts outside writing that I’ve learned from too. I was a barrister for years. I stayed doing it longer than I should have, not least because I wanted to please people. I was good at it but that wasn’t enough either. It took more bravery to leave that career than to stick at it and I wish I’d been prouder of myself for that – sometimes we’re so busy telling young people that they need to stick at things, we forget to tell them that sometimes the stronger, truer course is to leave them. You might be looking at uncertainty and/or a fresh, blank piece of paper, but that can be the best outcome.
Perdita: I used to be the least numerate tax barrister ever to practise at the English bar but now I’m writing at last and it’s the best ‘job’ in the world – not least because I’m writing funny teen books with my daughter.
Honor: I’m 17, I’m in my last year at school doing A levels and yes, weirdly, I’m co-writing funny teen books with my mum and having so much fun with it. I used to do a bit of acting (mostly school but a tiny bit professional) and although Elektra, our main character, is nothing like me, I suppose that’s where the germ of the idea for Waiting for Callback came from.
Perdita Cargill is the co-writer of the Waiting for Callback series with Honor Cargill. Casting Queen and Take Two are newly out in fresh covers and the last in the trilogy, It’s A Wrap is published 31 May 2018.