Sunday, 5 January 2014

New Year's Excitements and Writing Resolutions: 2014

Hello and welcome to 2014! A lot has changed since I wrote out my year's goals in January 2013.

Did I achieve any of them? Well . . . 

2013: the year that I ended up here
- I got an agent for my crime novel. In fact, Murder Most Unladylike, the first in my middle-grade murder mystery series featuring Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, will be coming out in the UK in May this year (it'll be out in the US in spring 2015). So, you know, I'd say I pretty much ticked that one off.

- I also finished that other book I was writing. It's not Hazel and Daisy at all, but I like it, and one day (in the far, far future) I'm hoping that you might get to like it too.

- I certainly did not get 25% of the 1001 Books project read last year. I feel a bit bad about that. But I did have a few other things going on.

- I don't think I wrote something every day. I certainly didn't write fiction every day. Raymond Chandler would be ashamed of me (sorry, Raymond Chandler). But I wrote quite a lot, and I'm proud of a fair to middling amount of it, and I think that's probably all most writers can ever truthfully say.

- I did begin to plan my books before I wrote them! Sort of, anyway. In 2013 I discovered spreadsheets, and now I love them. I also got much better at cutting the boring bits and getting to the action. When I was revising Murder Most Unladylike, I took to muttering INCREASE THE PERIL! as I typed, and that was very helpful. Everyone loves a bit of peril.

- I did not manage to cut out the dogs from my writing. Nor did I get rid of the murder element in my plots. I'm realising that both might just be inevitable. I did not write any short stories, or enter any competitions. And I did not get a pet lion. But I do still have a pet bearded dragon . . .


And now, some new writing resolutions for 2014.

- I am going to finish Murder Most Unladylike 2, which at the moment is called Arsenic For Tea. I admit, this is less a resolution than a contractual obligation, but hey, whatever works. I am also going to make it a lot better than it is right now.

I shall mainly be channeling the work (though not the life) of this person
- When Arsenic for Tea has been finished, I am going to rework the Secret Project mentioned above, and see what happens to it.

- I am going to do school visits. And I am going to make them be awesome.

- I'm going to try again with that short story thing - I definitely want to write some, probably set in Hazel and Daisy's world.

- I'm going to try to keep reading as many different genres and types of book as possible. Now that I work with children's books as my day job, as well as being a children's writer, it can get difficult to step back and try new things, but I know that it's important. Plus, I love it.

- I also want to do more rereading. I need to remember that trying to read every book ever published is unachievable, and sometimes it is better to just pick up I Capture the Castle for the eleventh time.

- I want to help other writers achieve their goals. I'm part of the awesome Author Allsorts group, as well as SCBWI, and they're both fantastic support networks for UK children's and YA authors. But of course, they only work if writers do support each other, and work together - and that's what I want to do more of this year.

- And I want to champion children's and YA writing however I can. I want to celebrate the brilliant writers working today, and help spread the word about what fantastic children's books are out there.


And finally, on to (some of the very, very many) upcoming 2014 titles I'm currently getting extremely excited about. 

- On January 14th, Hollow City, the sequel to Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children, will finally be published. I have been raving about Miss Peregrine - a crazy, creepy fantasy illustrated with terrifying found photos - since I read it last year, and I am beyond excited for this.

- In February there's a new Helen Oyeyemi book called Boy, Snow, Bird. I absolutely love Helen Oyeyemi (she wrote Mr Fox, a gorgeous take on the gruesome Mr Fox fairytale), and I would quite like to be her friend. But since I can't, I'll make do with reading her books.

- In March, Non Pratt's debut YA novel Trouble will be out. I am lucky enough to know a huge number of incredibly talented people who are all releasing books this year, and I am excited about every single one of them (Liz de Jager's Banished! Emma Pass's The Fearless! Katy Cannon's Love, Lies and Lemon Pies! So many others that if I listed them all this list would stretch to forever and potentially break the Internet!), but I got to read Trouble at proof stage and was absolutely delighted by it. It's so funny and sweet, and it manages to make the beaten-to-death teenage pregnancy plot point seem fresh and interesting. It's going to be a hit.

- March is also the publication month for my most anticipated non-fiction title: Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun. I love Victorian murders, the Maybrick mystery is fascinating, and Kate's Mr Briggs' Hat (about the first railway murder) was great. I can't wait for this.

- Lauren Beukes's The Shining Girls amazed me and freaked me out in equal measure last year, so I'm very excited about her new book, Broken Monsters, which publishes in May. It sounds a bit like sci-fi crime-novel Frankenstein meets The Island of Doctor Moreau, so obviously I will be reading it as soon as it comes out.

- In June, Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy concludes with Ruin and Rising. Once again, I am restraining myself from simply listing every single one of the fantastic books that Orion will be publishing this year (Tess Sharpe's heartbreaking thriller Far From You, the cosmically brilliant new 5-8 series Pets from Space, and many equally worthy others), but this is just SO EXCITING that I have to talk about it. Concluding a series is obscenely difficult to get right, but Leigh's absolutely done it. I can't wait for you all to go absolutely nuts about this.

- In July, Rainbow Rowell's next novel Landline is out. I love Rainbow Rowell. Have I said that enough? Every one of her books is nuanced, thoughtful and absolutely beautiful - and also an amazing love story. I'm bouncing off the walls about this one.

- In August, Ali Smith's got a new one out: How To Both. Ali Smith never bothers with things like nouns or verbs, and a lot of her books don't entirely make sense, but I like her writing a lot, and so I'm very excited for this.

- September can only be the month of a NEW SARAH WATERS NOVEL. Oh my GOD. It's called The Paying Guests, but for all I care it could be called The Very Boring Book of Nothing Happening. It's written by Sarah Waters, and that means that I'll be buying it anyway.

And one final date for your calendars - in May 2014, my very own book, Murder Most Unladylike, will be available to buy from all good UK bookstores. Isn't that exciting? And weird? And amazing? I'm hoping to be able to share the UK cover with you very soon (I've seen roughs, and it's going to be wonderful), and I'm also hoping to run a giveaway on this blog when the proof copies are in - which, again, should be very soon! So stick around.

All in all, I've got a really good feeling about this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment