Saturday 31 December 2016

Debuts 2016 - Sue Wallman

And today we share the last of our 2016 debut authors - writing buddy and #zoellabookclub chosen author - Sue Wallman. Sue has had a cracking debut year. Here she is to tell us more about it. 
What was the highlight of your debut?
There are three.
Lying About Last Summer being selected for the Zoella book club was incredibly exciting. I’d gone into the Scholastic office to meet my new editor, Linas, and so I wasn’t expecting any news. Just a handshake and maybe a coffee. When he told me, I did that classic thing of covering my face with my hands because I was so surprised. Then we had some champagne.
I’ve really appreciated being part of a debut group of authors, brought together by Olivia Levez who wrote The Island. There are five of us – the other three are Patrice Lawrence, Kathryn Evans and Eugene Lambert. We’ve done promotional events together, and I’ve loved getting to know them and having their support. They are a thoughtful bunch of people. 
Holding my book for the first time is something I’ll never forget. I was handed it by Lucy Rogers, my editor, before I did a bloggers event. I remember thinking But it’s not very heavy. It didn’t quite tally with the amount of effort I’d put it! I hadn’t realised that there would be a water droplet texture to the cover. So there were lots of things going through my head at the same time.

What was the low point of your debut?
Having the pressure of doing edits for book two in quite a short space of time. They felt daunting. I’d built a world that was overly complicated and my brain nearly exploded. I was relieved when everything finally hung together. 

Did you have to visit schools and were the visits what you were expecting?
I haven’t visited many schools. I need to do something about this, but I’ve been so caught up with writing See How They Lie which comes out in March. I’ve become much more confident about speaking in public though, thanks to doing other non-school events such as panels and talks. My stomach still goes weird but I don’t feel the same level of fear.

What kind of reaction have you had from your readers?
The first message I received via the contact form on my website was from a member of my critique group. And then I started getting some from actual readers. I love it. Most of them are 11 or 12 and they usually want to know how old I am or where I was born for their English homework.

What was it like working with a publicist?
I love this question! The publicity form I had to fill out for Scholastic brought it home to me that I have no celebrity friends or useful connections, so that was a shame. It felt very glamorous to have a publicist, especially when she came with me to a Speak Easy event where the cocktails were named after the books of the authors there. It’s been great having someone who wants to get your book into the hands of readers as much as you do. 
The story centres around a girl called Skye, who is sent to a camp for troubled teenagers after her sister dies in an accident. However, once she is at the camp she starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister.
To find out more about Sue Wallman:

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