Welcome to My Shelves are Full and thanks for stopping by!
I am thrilled to be a part of this blog tour. This is one of my top reads of the year for a few reasons…..I love the feisty Avariella, loved the adventure and I think it is an excellent novel for those working up to longer books with more intense plot lines. My daughter is enjoying it and it is building up her reading stamina.
I reviewed it in an earlier blog post so please do read that and buy the book!
Please continue reading for the guest post from the lovely and talented Marie Basting!
Rewriting my Story – How Writing Changed my Life
In January 2013, I launched my blog Riewriting, declaring to the world my intention to ‘rewrite my story through telling stories’. I’d recently taken redundancy, and I was ready to start again. To take control of my own narrative and see where writing might take me. I published my first blog post and set out to write fiction that would be entwined with my own truth.
Heavy stuff, yes. But I was serious. I had a second chance, and this time I wouldn’t let other people’s expectations stand in the way of my dreams. I’d prove wrong the careers advisor who said girls like me don’t become writers, leave my demons behind, show everyone I was just as worthy as the overconfident public schoolboys I’d encountered as a student journalist. I was going to write a book and in doing so redefine myself. I was forty-four. Maybe I was having a midlife crisis, but it was classier than buying a sports car or having an affair with my secretary.
So, to use a writing analogy, I’d defined my problem, developed a plan of action and I was about to cross the threshold and put the demons to sleep once and for all. But entering Act Two, I realised I had a problem: I knew absolutely nothing about writing. So, like any good hero, I had to find a way to get around this obstacle. First up, I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators(SCBWI) and started to attend a local critique group. People there talked about voice and structure and elusive creatures called agents: armed with red pens and rejection letters, they, apparently, were the new demons. And rather than kill, I had to seduce them.
This all seemed a tad scary. But I’d put myself out there, I was already blogging about being a writer,so I’d better crack on and become one. The first step, I figured, was to sound like one of those authoritative critique sorts. I signed up for an MA in Writing for Children at Manchester Writing School where I could learn more about voice and structure and those elusive creatures called agents. At the same time, I started volunteering for SCBWI. Attending my first writing conference, I realised the difference between aspiring writers and published authors was, largely, years of perseverance honing their skills and believing they could do it.
This brought me back to changing my narrative. If I talked like I was confident, I’d feel confident, right? So I kept blogging. I kept volunteering. And after having my first short story published, I signed up to teach creative writing in schools through the university’s ambassador scheme. In short, I took every opportunity I could. I presented myself as a writer and expert in children’s publishing and,much to my surprise, I was becoming one.
Things really started to come together after I heard Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary talk about high concept fiction at the 2016 SCBWI conference. I became much more strategic, mindful of what was driving the market and how I could make my ideas more attractive to the agent-demons. I also started to believe my own publicity. Having immersed myself in the book world, I finally felt I could belong. Pitching Princess BMX to Rachel Leyshon from Chicken House a year later didn’t seem too scary. She was no demon. She was my angel, a book deal soon following.
I’d rewritten my story. I was a writer. Proving that with the right narrative, we can all belong.
PRINCESS BMX by Marie Basting is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)