As some of you may know, I was lucky enough to be offered a book deal while I was still at University. While this was amazing, it did leave me with a big question: what was I going to do when I graduated? My original plan, back when writing was still a hobby instead of something Real, was to jump straight into a job. But now I had a whole new option: to be a full time author! This was something I’d wanted to do since I was a child, so I really wanted to give myself the best chance to be successful as an author, while I had the wonderful opportunity available.
Instead of choosing between the two, I decided to take a kind of gap year, where I’d write as much as possible for a year. I told myself that I’d have to get a real job by the end of that year. I gave myself some time to be a full time author, and then I’d have to get a ‘proper job’ as well as writing.
I’m coming up to the end of that gap year now, and it’s been amazing. I’ve loved writing full time. In the last nine months, as well as working on The Next Together, I’ve written one (and a half!) new novels. And now I have some brilliant news.
Amazingly, incredibly, wonderfully . . . Arts Council England, supported using public funding by the National Lottery, have awarded me an Arts Grant, to give me ‘time to write’!
They help artists and arts organisations in England to create work which will engage the public artistically. This means that the Arts Council haven been generous enough to give me the chance to write 3 whole new Young Adult novels!
I can’t even explain how much this means. I’m so grateful for the confidence they’ve shown in my writing, and in me personally. It’s such an honour to be part of their mission to create high quality, enriching art. I will try my best to live up to it.
As I’ve previously discussed on this blog, I take my role as a writer for teenagers and young adults very seriously. I try to do things with my writing beyond telling a story. The right book can shape a childhood, so I try to make sure I live up to that responsibility. To know that the Arts Council have put their trust me to do that as well is a huge, huge honour.
As for what I’ll be writing . . . I’m already hard at work on the first of the three novels, the sequel to my first novel The Next Together. The Last Beginning will feature an LGBT protagonist (and lots of time travel, history, adventure and romance). I’ve also planned out the other two novels I’m going to be writing, and I hope you’ll be as excited about them as I am!
Thank you to Zoë Marriott and Ross Montgomery, who both advised me on the application process (it’s, er, pretty lengthy!) and to my agent Claire Wilson and my editor Annalie Grainger for their guidance and support, always.
Finally: I get to use this logo now. It gives me shivers just looking at it!
Update: The lovely Nicole at YA Interrobang interviewed me about my grant here.