I'm very proud to say that just the other day, our guest blogger Tim Collins won the 2011 Manchester City Fiction Award for his book Diary of a Wimpy Vampire: The Undead have Feelings Too. He has recently completed a sequel called Prince of Dorkness, which is out in May. Like many authors, he's got a day job - he works in advertising, which probably explains his talent for totally amazing titles.
|Tim Collins greeting fans at the Manchester City Fiction Award celebrations.|
|Tim's award winning debut novel!|
Way to go, Tim!
For those who don’t know them, the Scattered Authors’ Society is a group of published children’s authors who meet to talk about writing and the industry. Discussion tends to focus on the challenges of maintaining a career, such as self-promotion, school visits and market trends.
It won’t be news to anyone that sustaining a writing career is tough, but I’m always amazed at just how hard established authors work when you press them for details.
|What we could achieve if|
we were Linda Chapman
Hard work and painstaking research were certainly in evidence in Mary Hoffman’s session on Saturday about her forthcoming historical YA novel David, which imagines the story of Michelangelo’s model.
What I loved about Mary’s talk was how open she was about every step of developing the novel from initial idea to corrected proof.
|Mary Hoffman chooses a talismanic object for every book she works on.|
|Tim Collins posing with a librarian.|
|Lucy Cuthew of Meadowside|
Right now we reckon the trends are dystopias, paranormal creatures other than vampires and, perhaps surprisingly, special needs protagonists.
Basically if you’re working on a story about a werewolf with ADHD swimming around a submerged city, you should be safe.
If you’re working on a story about a werewolf with ADHD, swimming around a submerged city, you should be safe
Overriding all these content trends, however, are format trends. Lucy showed us the iPad app for The Heart and the Bottle, which uses touch screen technology to bring Oliver Jeffers’ picture book to life.
It’s all very impressive, but I can’t help thinking that form and content are still fighting each other a tad. But surely it’s only a matter of time before an author who knows and loves app development creates an interactive story that can only work on a touch screen, and hoovers up awards like a Dyson.
But will they have created a book or a variation on one of those point-and-click adventures I wasted the nineties playing, like Monkey Island and Broken Sword?
|Tim Collins at the entrance to his flat.|
It was illuminating to find out how editors have responded to fictional diversity. The feeling was that authors want to vary the ethnicity, physical ability and sexuality of their characters, but the industry only wants them to if the books are specifically about these issues.
We hope that things are changing, although you might still miss out on that Arabic edition if your main character has two dads.
|Look out for Tim's new book|