I have long been interested in birds and the natural world generally, but it was sixteen years ago that I wrote a terrible first draft of my children’s book The Girl and the Goldcrest. It didn’t even have a baddie in it, essential for an exciting novel for children. Now it features the villainous Cain Grindlethwaite – you’ll need to read more to find out.
I concentrated on writing adult fiction (also bad, but possibly improving) until I returned to The Girl and the Goldcrest a couple of years ago. The novel was still not satisfactory and submitting it to Sheffield Novelists was a great help, as well as “road-testing” the book with a member of the group and her primary school-aged children. The structure and the narrative thread of the novel were much improved as a result and I decided to publish.
The platform feedaread.com is a great way to do this, but there are pitfalls in formatting, and if you do something wrong, there is little help from the site. I suppose my main difficulty was the extensive use of illustrations, which caused a delay until I abandoned attempting to fit the thing into the site’s grid and took up the alternative suggestion of simply submitting a pdf. I suppose I thought that would be more problematical, but it was easy.
The book itself is middle grade fiction and an eco-fantasy, although the existence of intelligent, human-like ‘Guardian’ animals is the only unreal feature. Everything else obeys the laws of nature and the setting is a city much like Sheffield.
You can buy the book here: https://www.feedaread.com/books/The-Girl-and-the-Goldcrest-9781803024844.aspx
If you have children and want to find out more about the book, I’m running a free activities afternoon at Walkley Library, where I’m doing a reading from my book, talking about wildlife and children can make their own cardboard binoculars to help them to watch wildlife, and make an insect hotel.