Today's debut is a fellow SCBWI member and one half of the team that brought you #ukmgchat, Lorraine Gregory. I've followed Lorraine's journey for a few years and it's so lovely to see her finally getting her time in the limelight. Mold will be published with Oxford University Press in May. Here is Lorraine to tell us all about her upcoming debut book, Mold.
How are you feeling about your debut this year?
It’s a mixture of overwhelming excitement and mind numbing fear basically. I absolutely can’t wait to have my book out in the universe at last; to have children discover Mold and the world I created, to be able to run events and school visits and to finally be a real life, bone fide, published author after so many years of trying!
But the flip side of that is the stomach clenching worry over whether anyone will actually like my book. Maybe they’ll just think it’s weird? Maybe no one will buy it? Maybe people will hate it entirely, write horrible reviews and tell me about it on twitter and I’ll end up running away to live in a Yurt in outer Mongolia…
The thing is that as much as I WANT people to read my book it also makes me feel incredibly vulnerable to know people CAN read my book. It’s a bit like letting any random stranger, friend, acquaintance or enemy root freely around in your head, picking through your deepest thoughts and feelings and judging everything, judging me, by what they find there.
So to sum up, basically it’s all completely terrifying and wonderful and I’m fairly sure I’m going to be hideous to live with for the next six months or possibly longer but shhh don’t tell my family, they have no idea!
Did you ever feel like quitting writing?
The honest answer is no. I never wanted to quit writing because it had taken me so many years to get round to doing it and made such a huge difference to my life that I couldn’t imagine NOT writing.
But I certainly considered giving up the quest for publication. I had some extremely low points where rejection and failure seemed to haunt me and I wondered why I kept putting myself out there, why I was chasing this dream that seemed impossible and hurt so much.
I was lucky that I had family and friends to support me and just enough stubbornness and grit to keep going. I grabbed onto every tiny triumph I could find and just kept writing.
What are your hopes for 2017?
A film deal, a t.v spin off and my own interactive, nose based theme park to start with.
*Cue maniacal laughter*
We writers do have overactive imaginations don’t we?
No, truthfully I think it’s really easy to get caught up in the whole success thing. To see other authors winning prizes, getting five star reviews, selling foreign rights, as well as the pinnacle of all authors dreams - having their own themed stickers, rubbers and pencils! It’s understandable that we crave similar validation that we’re talented and special too. But lovely as all those things are (especially the pencils!) my real hopes for 2017 are that children will love reading Mold and the Poison Plot, that they disappear into the world I made and never want to leave and that maybe they’ll tell me all about it one day. I can wait till 2018 for the theme park…
Who did you tell first about your book deal?
My son was in the house when I got the email offer from OUP and I may have danced excitedly past him shouting “I’ve got a book deal!” which made it quite difficult for him to ignore. It was lovely and fitting that he was the first person to know because I started writing for him and he has been an amazing support throughout; listening to me reading draft after draft, discussing plots and characters and ideas for hours, nagging me to keep writing so he can find out what happens next, telling me it’s boring and I need to make it better and doling out hugs and words of comfort when I’ve been struggling.
What has the wait for publication been like?
VERY VERY LOOOOOOONG!
I signed my book deal in May 2015 and Mold will be released in May 2017 so it’s been rather a slow road to publication for me.
At the beginning it didn’t seem that bad, there was editing to do and then more editing and ooh a little bit more editing and just some tiny extra bits of editing and that kept me occupied for a while screaming into the void and banging my head on the desk.
After the editing’s done though, much of the work that goes on is the publishers domain and there were long periods of time when I wasn’t needed for anything. I’d try and focus on a new manuscript for a while only to be needed again for brief bursts of excitement over things like proof pages and cover discussions.
I often think that writing is one of the worst occupations for someone with little or no patience like myself to get in to and… unsurprisingly, I’m absolutely right.
I’m pleased to say that I’ve coped well with all the waiting (snort) by moaning excessively to all my (very long suffering) friends and family and the copious use of twitter.
And in between I’ve done some actual writing of words so that one day I might be lucky enough to go through it all again.
Summary of Mold
He's got a big heart . . . and a nose to match!
Mold's a bit of a freak. His nose is as big as his body is puny and his mother abandoned him in a bin when he was a mere baby. Who else but the old healer, Aggy, would have taken him in and raised him as her own? But when Aggy is accused of poisoning the King, Mold sets out to clear her name.
In a thrilling race against time to save Aggy from the hangman's noose, Mold faces hideous, deadly monsters like the Yurg and the Purple Narlo Frog. He finds true friendship in the most unusual - and smelly - of places and must pit his wits and his clever nose against the evil witch Hexaba.
To find out more about Lorraine Gregory: