Tuesday 24 May 2022

Out of the mouth’s of babes… confidence boosts from unlikely places

Being a pre-published writer is a rollercoaster of emotions. From the highs fuelled by confidence boosting short-listings or full manuscript requests to the deep dive into depression caused by imposter syndrome and rejection. Sometimes the pursuit of publication grinds you down and you doubt your ability, and wonder if you have anything to give or say that readers will find interesting. This can be difficult to circumnavigate.

For a while I’ve bumped between these two emotions, like a jack in the box. However I’ve had a few encounters that have reinforced my confidence and convinced me that my books do have something that would appeal to children.


Recently I’ve re-embraced by first passion for illustration, *read about it here* as a consequence I’m setting up an Etsy shop and am running a pop-up shop selling my work. This is the unlikely setting where these encounters took place as I had the pleasure of meeting some incredible children. The children in question were intrigued by my mammoths and we struck up conversations.

One 10 year old, dyslexic boy was fascinated by mammoths, and by my illustrations. I showed him how to draw mammoths and told him about the science that has inspired my latest WIP. His mother has since contacted me to let me know that he (two months later) is still drawing mammoths, telling everyone about mammoths and enquiring about when my book will be published! Editors and agents feel free to contact me!

Look at these AMAZING drawings by the 10 year old I mentioned.

Another 12 year old with dyslexia and dyscalculia was equally enthralled by mammoths and with my illustrations, we made a pact that next time he comes in I’ll teach him how to draw them, and he’ll show me how he draws goats!


Another younger boy or 8 or 9, was conversing with me and when I mentioned the ‘Mammoth Rival Project’ and the idea that cloned mammoths could help with the battle against global warming, he got very excited and begun explaining back to me how scientists were looking for mammoth genomes in order to edit elephant DNA ! His mother’s face and amazing, she had no idea how passionate he was about genetics. He was therefore very taken with the concept of my novel.

Amazingly most of the children I’ve spoken to are dyslexic and many have dyscalculia also, and all were very keen to read an own-voice book with a protagonist like them, just like mine!

It bring me joy to know I’ve inspired them in some small way, and they have given me the affirmation I need needed to continue in the relentless endeavour of submissions.

Submissions here I come!