I'm pleased to welcome a brilliant debut author and librarian to the blog today to talk about their journey to publication!
Here we go...
Donna grew up in the UK in a house full of noisy siblings, fun parents, mad aunties and maggots (her dad is a fisherman). She'd often be found reading by torch light way after bed time and this love of reading has never left her.
Donna is a children's author, a freelance writer and an assistant librarian in a prison.
Donna loves writing for children and teenagers and thinks that a child's imagination is the best place in the world!
'Oh No, Bobo!' gently introduces the theme of consent to very young children. It is written by Donna David and is beautifully illustrated by Laura Watkins.
Bobo can't sleep - he's just too uncomfortable!
Bobo is sure one of his jungle friends will be able to help. He plucks a feather here and a tuft of hair there but only causes upset! Bobo is left despondent and still without a pillow. But when Elsie the elephant enthusiastically strokes Bobo and wraps him up in her trunk in an effort to play, Bobo gets very upset indeed. Will Bobo and Elsie both learn an important lesson about asking permission?
QEB’s Storytime series introduces young children to the pleasures of reading and sharing stories. Featuring charming animal and human characters, the books explore important social and emotional themes like friendship, gratitude, perseverance, and overcoming fears. A Next Steps page at the back provides guidance for parents and teachers.
Who are you and what do you write?
I'm Donna David and I'm a children's author. I write for children of all ages: from newborn right up to 99 year olds who are still young at heart.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
I've always written on and off but I started to take my writing seriously when my husband was posted to Afghanistan for eight months. With three young children tucked up in bed, I had long evenings to fill. So, I filled it by writing stories. Many were awful but some had a spark of potential. I took these sparks and starting playing with them to see where they might lead...
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
It took my about 18 months to sign with my wonderful agent, Becky Bagnell. I signed in the September and I genuinely thought I'd have my first deal by Christmas. How I laugh at myself now! 2.5 years later and I finally got my first offer for 'Oh No, Bobo!' It was such a relief! From offer to publication was about fourteen months, which in the world of picture books is no time at all. I feel so lucky to have been paired with Laura Watkins. She's done such a wonderful job with the illustrations.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
It's a total cliche but so very true - writing to be published is such a roller coaster! You get the biggest high from finishing a story that you completely love but then a devastating low when the rejections start rolling in.
The highs for me have been signing with my agent, meeting so many other brilliant writers, signing contracts, finding out which illustrators I've been paired with and holding my books in my hands for the very first time.
The lows have been many, many, MANY rejections. But, I always treat myself to a nice bit of chocolate with every rejection so that's got me through!
Would you go back and change anything?
I'd probably eat less chocolate. My dentist would be much happier.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10? Or, what are your plans for the future?
I would LOVE to be able to make a full time career out of writing. I'm inching closer every year but I still juggle a couple of part time jobs as well for now. Having said that, I adore working in a prison library so I'm not sure I'd be able to give that up anyway.
I hope to take part in more festivals and school visits as these are a complete perk of the job!
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Be kind to yourself. Every single author I know has been rejected many, many times, so you have to make sure that you love what you're doing. Quite a bit of luck comes into play in the world of picture books - you often have to land on the right desk at the right time. Be patient, and whilst you're waiting for your bit of luck, read as widely as you can. I can't overestimate the importance of reading, reading, reading. It's the best way to develop your craft.
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? - Oh, don't make me pick. Ketchup...no mayo...no, no ketchup. Definitely. Maybe.
Night or Day? - Day but I do love a good night out! Dancing is the BEST!
Inside or Outside? - Outside
Dogs or Cats? - I used to have cats growing up and I adored them. But now I'm allergic so I'd have to say dogs.
Twitter or Facebook? - Twitter
e-book or Paperback? - Paperback but ebooks are essential for holidays.
Sun or Rain? - Sun. This is by the far easiest question so far.
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? - For picture books, pencil and notebook. I scribble so much out but then I often go back to what I wrote initially. I like to see it all there on the page so I can find my best lines. But for anything longer, it has to be keyboard. I got a certificate for my touch typing when I was eleven years old and it's a skill that has served me well!
Comedy or Drama? - Comedy. Laughter really is the best medicine! One of my biggest struggles is getting a scene that is completely hilarious in my head down on paper without losing the comedy gold.
Chips or Chocolate? - Chocolate. I think from my answers above you probably already knew that!
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
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