Emily Barr: Final Writing Workshop

Today marked the last day of the incredible writing workshops I’ve been a part of with many talented writers at Falmouth University. The writing workshops were taught by the fabulous Emily Barr, who is a bestselling (and very skilled) thriller novelist.

Even more exciting, she has a new YA book coming out early next year which is published by none other than Penguin, so watch this space!

These workshops have been amazing and a real gift to be a part of. I’ve learnt so much, from writing about sense of place through to writing about characters with amnesia and how to deal with that. Emily was also kind enough to bring her husband – also a writer! – to these workshops and having him there too was a huge insight into the children’s publishing world, as he’s also a children’s writer.

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The workshops were held over a period of five or six weeks and, inbetween this, I was lucky enough to have two focused individual sessions with Emily, where we talked about novel writing, what it’s like to be signed by a top publisher like Penguin and copy edits. What was even cooler was how she persuaded me to bite the bullet and follow my own writing dream, which is to travel out to Texas and do some research on the novel I’m writing – a YA novel set against the backdrops of the rural South.

I’m planning to go during Easter break but if that doesn’t happen then there’s always the summer. I’ve already saved up some money for the trip (I have been saving since the first year of my undergraduate degree: that’s three years). I just need to take someone with me, if only to make sure I come home and don’t run off with a cowboy, which is an actual true danger.

These writing workshops have made my writing stronger, they’ve made me listen to other people’s writing with more precision and clarity, and to be more confident about reading my work aloud. I always struggled with this before, so it’s great to have a balance between reading your work on the page and reading it out loud to other people.

To be a part of such a great writing community every single week has been really special and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m sad that it’s over but feel so lucky to have been a part of it all. But it’s not over yet! We have one more last personal session with her on Wednesday and I’m excited about this. Afterwards, we’re all meeting for drinks, so now I guess I can say I’ve shared a few drinks with Emily Barr! Yay!

But, seriously, it’s been so wonderful. Even better, I feel like I’ve made some new friends as a result of this great workshop and gotten some awesome new skills!

Until next time.

Interview on Working for Penguin Books!

Howdy everyone.

I promised I’d tell you all about how my time went doing work experience at Penguin Books and that time has come! I was recently interviewed by the lovely blog An Abundance of Books where I talk about it all.

This blog is really for anyone who loves books, reading and publishing, plus it’s just really pretty so it’s worth looking at for that reason too.

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(The books I got from Penguin on my placement)

Working for Penguin was amazing and it turns out I’m going back there over Easter break for another placement! This time I’ll be with the marketing team at Penguin Press and I cannot wait. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more that my heart lies in books.

If you want to read about how I got on at Penguin then you can read it here: http://anabundanceofbooks.com/2016/02/24/emily-ould-at-penguin

Please give the blog a follow if you like what you see!

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye London!

It’s officially my last day in London! Tomorrow I’ll pack up and leave early in the morning to drive back down to Cornwall,  where there’s an abundance of tractors, pasties and wide open spaces. Yay!

But I won’t lie – London has been an amazing experience I won’t forget and I can’t believe that, before now, I spent most of my life absolutely terrified of it! I was shocked when everybody (well, most people) were so friendly towards me and you don’t get mugged in the streets every two seconds like I thought.

Okay, yes, I was a little naive.

But, now I’ve done it, it feels incredible to have stood in a crowd amongst London streets, seeing sights that people have seen a million times over THROUGHOUT HISTORY and to miraculously be less than a few minutes away from Oxford Street.

Now, sadly, I haven’t been able to take many photographs, 1) because I have zero memory left in my phone (stupid me) and 2) I haven’t really had the chance as I’ve been inside a building most of the time!

But that building is Penguin Random House. So, of course, this makes it all okay!

(*Credit to Carrie WishWishWish)

I still can’t really wrap my head around the fact that I got to do work experience at Penguin for two weeks. It’s incredible and I learnt so much.

I dreamed for so long of walking through those doors of Penguin HQ – either to work there or as signed author and, now, one of those things has come true! Even if it was only temporarily.

Maybe the next one will come true at some point in the future. *Fingers crossed.*

It’s been amazing.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching London go from a pitch black canvas of darkness in the sky at the end of every day to slowly lightening up into shades of inky blue and lighter indigo’s as time hurried on by. As I was heading towards Charing Cross station I could never help but smile at this! Because it meant – tah-da! – that spring is actually – finally -on its way!

And when I think of spring, I think of beach. And when I think of beach, I think of home. I honestly can’t wait to roll around in the sand, even if it’s freezing when I get there.

Yes, I’ve missed home.

So, my last day in London will mark perusing book shop shelves and darting into fancy shops I wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to go in. Also eating sushi for lunch, just because I can.

I’ve enjoyed my time here an insane amount – and read roughly four books since I’ve been here (thank you train journeys) – but now it’s time to go home and snuggle with my cats. I’ve missed them loads.

*Happy smiles.

 

 

I’m in London!

That’s right. I’m in London, fellow humans.

(Cue a giant double decker red bus and a pretty image of Big Ben next to the River Thames if I had one.)

Credit goes to whoever took this photo.

Because I like to update my blog on writerly news and how my current lifestyle around books is going (with a few updates on my cat) I’m thrilled to announce that the reason I’m staying in London is because *drum roll please* I managed to get work experience with Penguin Random House!!

I still can’t really believe it.

Honestly, I am beyond pleased and so, so happy. I have been working towards getting work experience with any of the top publishing houses for so long! I truly never thought it would happen. Being surrounded by books everyday and top publishers is like a dream and, even though I’m not getting a permanent full-time job in publishing right away, I kind of feel like I’ve made it somehow. Already. I know. Don’t hold your breath, right?

*please let me get somewhere in publishing one day in the foreseeable future.

London is very different from Cornwall. For one thing, there’s no sunsets amid a huge blue wavering line of sea and countryside to close the day. For another thing, everybody walks at about a gazillion miles an hour and, also, people don’t care if they shove you at a station during rush hour. I found this out just today.

I’m here for another week or so and I’ll definitely be updating you by the time we roll on into next week. I’ve missed blogging. And I’m going to start afresh with a little more publishing knowledge in tow.

In the meantime, check out the publication I semi-run all about Cornwall. It has pretty pictures, I swear! You can click on it here: www.cornishstory.com

Have a nice night wherever you are in the world.