Steve Draper – publishing The Girl and the Goldcrest

Flyer for The Girl and the Goldcrest

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 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:

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.

Join me at Walkley Library!