One year ago today, on a train to university while reading an excellent YA book, I thought seriously about starting a blog. In the month or so before, I’d started really committing and opening up to the fact I wanted to write for children and young adults. It was a tough decision, but while I’d been writing general fiction at uni for three years, I felt a bit like I was going through the paces of what people expected from me. Then I applied for my MA in Writing, which I knew was the one for me over an MA English partly because of one module: Writing for Children and Young People.
My tutor, a published children’s author in the UK and all-round awesome person, has really helped to inspire me and within a couple of weeks of the course starting I knew that YA was what I wanted, no-needed, to write.
However, in an environment full of people reading so-called ‘literary fiction’, sci-fi or fantasy, I needed more people to talk to about YA. I love YA. I love it. It’s visceral, charged and exciting to read and often more poignant to me than some of the literary fiction I read before. My favourite YA books are novels that fill me with hope, sadness and send chills down my spine.
So I decided to start a blog. In a way, if I’m honest, I wanted it to be something I could be proud to put on my CV – something to demonstrate my love of books, of writing and of YA. However, I also needed it to be a way to connect with fellow YA readers, aspiring and published authors and the community as a whole as both a writer and lover of YA.
I didn’t expect much when I started; starting from a point where so few people I knew read YA, I didn’t know who would read my posts. The last year has been fantastic though and exceeded my expectations. I finished my MA (with a Merit) and now am upgrading it to a MFA and being supervised while I work on my YA novel, something I am both terrified and excited about.
I have made new friends through blogging, met authors at launches, attended publisher events and YA panels, I have been lucky enough to have publishers send me awesome review books and proofs and taken part in great blog tours. I also discovered Foyles and lost a lot of money through this with no regrets! Most importantly, I feel like I am part of a great community. So, this is a little gushy, but thanks. Thanks to everyone who has liked, commented, followed and supported me so far with this endeavour, especially when reviews were a little behind and I was ranting on twitter about everything from delayed trains to uni deadlines.