As publication for A Boy Called Hope, draws nearer, I am extremely excited to interview the forthcoming debut author, Lara Williamson, to discover more about her writing journey.
1) March 2014 sees the publication of your debut novel, A Boy Called Hope. How are you feeling about it all right now?
I think there is an entire butterfly house fluttering away inside my stomach at the moment. I’m both nervous and excited about the publication. But it’s all good and I’m looking forward to March 1st.
2) You are a member of SCBWI. How has that helped your journey to publication?
The month I joined SCBWI I also entered Undiscovered Voices and I think that was the beginning of my journey to publication. There was a real buzz around UV at the time and I found myself being part of it, which was fantastic. When you’re writing it can sometimes feel like you’re in a bubble but with SCBWI there are lots of lovely, hardworking, like minded people who know what it feels like to be in a bubble too and they’re there to support you.
3) You were long listed for Undiscovered Voices in 2012, how did that feel?
It was incredible. At the time I joined SCBWI I wasn’t fully aware of just how fantastic Undiscovered Voices was but I soon found out. Being long listed really gives you a boost and gets you noticed by all the right people in the industry, which is something you’re very grateful for.
4) What advice would you give to any long listers who don’t get into the short list for the Undiscovered Voices 2014.
I didn’t make the short list and I remember being disappointed. I felt as though I’d get so far, maybe even see a finish line, but I could never quite jump the last hurdle without falling. Afterwards I submitted the UV manuscript to agents but this time things were different and I was able to say I’d been long listed and that really helped open doors. At the same time I thought I’d write something new – a story about what it feels like to be rejected but never give up hope. It turned into A Boy Called Hope and with this one I did jump the last hurdle. If I could say one final thing it would be this: not making the short list (or even the long list) is not the end. There are many routes to publication and you will find your own way.
5) How did you feel when you got your agent?
This was one of the best days ever. At the time I couldn’t believe it was actually happening to me because it was so amazing. I think I wandered around in a daze for a long time. Maddy is the loveliest most supportive agent I could ask for and even now I’m still thanking my lucky stars.
6) Who was the first person you spoke to when you found you were to be published?
Learning I was going to be published was a dream come true. I told my husband first because he’d been on the journey to publication with me. It’s always nice to have someone ride the ups and downs of the roller coaster with you. And when there’s an up you have got to celebrate it with the person who also helped you through the downs.
Check back here for part 2 of The Big Break with Lara Williamson next Thursday.
A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson is out on 1st March 2014. To read the first chapter go to www.usborne.com/readHope. To preorder, please click the box below.
To find out more about Lara Williamson: