Good things come to those who wait
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. To be honest, I’d come to a bit of a standstill. I’ve still been writing (you can’t stop me doing that), but I was starting to wonder if this was it – Bryony Pearce, author of Angel’s Fury, one book wonder; the Nizlopi of literature. My mum has always told me: if you’ve nothing good to say, say nothing. So that’s been my policy recently.
But now, now I have good things to say!
Part of my problem was that I had come to an impasse with my agent. Lovely as Sam is, we decided to part ways earlier this month. I immediately signed on with the wonderful and incisive Juliet Mushens at PFD and her enthusiasm for my work has just galvanised me. I’m writing like a mad thing now and am so positive for the future.
So that’s one good thing.
The next good thing is not just good, it’s amazing. Yesterday I went to Leeds to attend the Leeds Book Award. Mine was one of six books shortlisted for the 14-16 category.
I arrived a bit early (to the consternation of the organisers) and was ensconced in a room to await my fellow writers. I chatted with existing friends – Harriet Goodwin, Janet Foxley, Curtis Jobling, Will Hill and Paula Rawsthorne and met some new ones – Annabel Pitcher, Ally Kennon, Martyn Bedford and Zoe Marriott.
The lovely girls of Ossett High School were assigned to look after me and I spent some time chatting with them and answering some challenging questions (which past life would you most want to have lived? I went with Shakespeare’s right hand man and Euripedes – I was put on the spot, OK!) before going into the packed auditorium where I faced a stage with six spot-lit seats. Somewhat intimidating.
Thankfully the 11-14 category went first.
Dave Cryer, the compere said something about each book and each author was passed the microphone in order to answer questions from the audience.
It looked very hot up there.
Curtis Jobling did some amazingly fast drawings of Bob the Builder and Paula answered offered tips for aspiring young writers (daydream!).
Then it was time to find out the winner.
And it was Paula Rawsthorne. She took the award with lovely calm aplomb and had the presence of mind to thank everyone beautifully.
The other writers also received glass awards shaped like diamonds. Excellent, I thought, I’ll have something to show Andy when I get home!
Then it was our turn – the 14-16 category. I’ll be honest, I thought I had it solved. Martyn Bedford was going to win. His excellent book was doing really well and he had a huge round of applause when he stood up to go on stage.
We all answered our questions, somewhat nervously. Zoe Marriott told a wonderful story about wearing a kimono so she would understand how her character’s clothes would affect her movement – which goes to show how much research we authors do!
Then the winner was announced.
There was a drum roll (provided by the audience patting their knees) then the girl who was reading the winner out said ‘Mmmm’ and fell silent – her nerves perhaps overwhelming her. My mind provided the rest anyway – Martyn Bedford. I prepared to clap and metaphorically rubbed my hands, waiting for the runner up prize. Dave took the envelope and read out the winner.
Angel’s Fury by Bryony Pearce.
Propelled to my feet by Zoe (who was sitting next to me) I staggered towards the microphone shaking like a leaf. There was some concern that I might fall off the stage – Dave suggested I might want to sit back down! But no, I took that microphone, mumbled incoherent thanks, said something about how my book was like my baby and the award was like my child graduating from university with honours and getting a great job. Not my most impressive moment.
Then I was clutching MY award.
I couldn’t believe it. Such an honour. Made more incredible by the fact that it was voted for by the students in Leeds. Actual readers chose my book as their favourite.
Still shaky and overwhelmed I signed many notebooks (and was concerned that Will Hill sitting next to me had many more actual books coming to his table for a signature. I thought they’d take the award off me and give it to him, until I found out that the bookshop had somehow got hold of pre-signed copies of Angel’s Fury).
Then I drank cocktails.
So, wonderful things have happened this month. I’m ready to take on the publishing world again. Watch this space for more good news. Should be some coming soon …