Upcoming book launch – Windrunner’s Daughter
I’m so excited to announce that Windrunner’s Daughter is finally going to be published. THIS WEEK.
This book has been a long time in the making.
The first time Wren appeared was as a character named Web, in a short story I wrote back in 2003. She was the one who encouraged me to give up my life and job in London and move, in 2004, to a village the Peak District, where I went freelance, so that I could spend as much time as possible writing. Writing what? Her full story, of course.
Windrunner’s Daughter was the novel that taught me to write. I made mistakes – huge mistakes (the first draft of my first ever novel was about 30k too long, hadn’t been properly plotted, tried to do way too much and included rookie mistakes like telling not showing). But for the first time in my life, in 2007, I actually wrote a whole novel, thanks to Wren.
When I thought I had finished the book I sent it to agents and received my first raft of rejections. Being a writer means dealing with a lot of rejection!
So I went to a company called Cornerstones, to help me find out what I had done wrong. That wonderful team led by Helen and Kathryn helped me hone my novel to the point at which they thought it was good enough to enter into a competition run by the British chapter of the international organisation SCBWI. The competition was for unagented, unpublished novelists – Undiscovered Voices. I was a winner of Undiscovered Voices 2008 and, as a result, got offers from agents.
Sam Copeland believed in Windrunner’s Daughter enough to take me on. After Cornerstones, he was my first real cheerleader and did his best to sell the novel, but while publishers loved the first half, the second (the unplotted half) had problems. So we gave up on Windrunner’s Daughter, put the manuscript in the back of the proverbial drawer and, using everything I had learned in writing it, I came up with another novel, Angel’s Fury, which sold to Egmont, was long listed for the Branford Boase and won two other awards.
The Windrunner’s Daughter taught me to write and then retired. Or so I thought.
The reasons I had for writing Windrunner remained. I had thought it was important to write a story which showed that girls could do anything, especially those things they are told they cannot do as well as boys. In October 2005 I had given birth to a little girl and it became even more important to me that she learned this lesson. Maisie is surrounded by messages that try to pigeonhole her and I wanted to write something that would counterbalance this.
So after writing The Weight of Souls and Phoenix Rising, I went back to Windrunner’s Daughter. I deleted the whole manuscript, keeping nothing but my original concept, and rewrote it all. This time I plotted the second half as carefully as the first and used everything I had learned from working with editors from Egmont, Strange Chemistry and Stripes.
When Strange Chemistry closed down, the lovely people at Xist asked to see Windrunner’s Daughter and finally, I had a new set of cheerleaders, Calee and Michael-Ann, who also believed in Wren and her messages of courage, self-belief and equality.
I’m so happy that I can finally share Windrunner’s Daughter with you. I hope you like it.