I’ve been at this About page of my life about three times now in the past five years. I keep changing the focus slightly. Design, writing… now design AND writing because face it, I need to keep the freelance work going while I write.
But since I’ve been a freelance designer for over 10 years now, I’ll go on about where I am with my writing.
A couple of years ago, I wrapped up the Golden Egg Academy Foundation Year where I focused on my YA novel. 436 drafts later, I submitted it to agents which sort of felt like sending my son off to school for the first day. Repeatedly. Then being told he wasn’t quite right for the school. I had some decent feedback from agents, and felt encouraged, but because it’s told through the eyes of a teenaged boy, I heard more than once, “I’m not sure how I’d market this.”
I went for the 12 – 14 year age range, in other words, clean teen. I truly believed, and still do, that there needs to be more books for young teens that don’t tackle the heavy stuff. Or have loads of swear words (I did have to do a swear word edit but kept a few in where I felt no other word would work). I just wanted to leave the reader feeling happy and wanting to hug the book when they finished. It was one heck of a squiggly path to consider calling it done, but, even with the ultimate let-down, I enjoyed every minute of it. I still send it out once in a while but have learned to move on to the next one. A middle grade novel…
Other than working on a book, I’ve written a few short stories, a few children’s picture book texts, and am using felted wool to illustrate one of them. I’ve never been at ease with paints but working with dyed wool? There’s something about it that’s quite satisfying whether it’s the strong, bold colours or the multiple dimensions the piece goes through before becoming a flat piece of art. Of course I’ve only done 2 of about 22 illustrations so far. I can see where my son gets his love of starting projects, loathing of finishing them. I will carry on. I even bought a bin just to store all my wool in. A storage bin. Not a rubbish bin. I’m not at that point, yet.
I still do bits of design work from my repeat customers, mainly in the US and the Alps (well, my long-time American client who has a biz creating trail running excursions in the Alps), and any word-of-mouth jobs that come my way. Even to just technically say in any type of conversation where the topic comes up that I do actually make some money.
I live on the outskirts of Manchester with my husband Steve (who I can thank for the wicked Italian last name) and our 10-year-old son, Lukas. I often imagine what Lukas will be like a teenager and ended up using it for inspiration for my YA book. I pictured what his friends will be like in 5 years. I wonder how close I’ll be.
Even though home is here with my boys, I still hold Maine/Massachusetts close to my heart. We spend a few weeks every summer traveling around New England, visiting my family and spending as much time as possible outside. I love the guarantee of decent, warm weather. Unlike, well, here. Sorry England. Don’t mean to offend. But as I stare out the window at the rain hitting our BBQ? It stings, people.