Following on the publication of the popular children’s book New Beginnings, mother of three and writer Rebecca Emin is launching her next book for 10 to 14 year olds ‘When Dreams Come True, today and details of where to find out about the book and the launch are below.
Having known Rebecca for quite some time online and having read her adult work, particularly her many short stories that have been included in a wide variety of anthologies, and having children of my own I was interested in reading Rebecca’s work for children. Her outstanding strength in my view is of being able to hone in on the issues that children and early teens are struggling with as they grow up. Rebecca manages to explore these issues sensitively while at the same time writing a story that grips and engages to the last moments. My children of both genders have enjoyed her stories. When Dreams Come True in particular has all the ingredients of a mystery as her independent and likeable character Charlie tries to uncover her family’s secrets as well as facing up to the common challenges of the early teen. A lovely read for this age group.
Last April I interviewed the lovely Rebecca Emin as part of my mother writer series. I first connected with and got to know Rebecca over Twitter and since then she has become a fantastic friend and my writing ‘twin’ as we share similar experiences of writing, submitting etc while looking after our young families. Many writers will be aware of Rebecca’s selflessness when it comes to supporting other writers and also causes – she’s involved in many charity anthologies. It is for these and many other reasons that I’m delighted to be involved in celebrating the official publication date of her debut novel for young readers (8-12) New Beginnings by Grimoire Books.
My Review of New Beginnings
Sam Hendry is moving on from primary school and her old friends. The transition is not easy. Sam finds herself the victim of bullying as she struggles to find her feet in her new school. Rebecca brilliantly captures the vulnerability and confusion of adolescence and convincingly portrays Sam’s experiences and thoughts. The feel good storyline of Sam finding her identity through her talent for music gives the book a great appeal for would be stars. Without giving too much away: the ending is just terrific. The book is a positive read for children as they move to this new stage in their lives. Despite the female protagonist, the book is not just for girls, my ten year boy was totally engrossed in Sam’s story and how it turned out. It’s a story that will appeal to any child daunted by change and relationships. I highly recommend this book for the 8-12 age group, it’s encouraging, engaging and a great read!
Join us over on Rebecca’s blog Ramblings of a Rusty Writerto find more details of the book and how Rebecca is celebrating today with competitions and giveaways!
By commenting here on this post and on the other blogs she lists you are in with a chance to win prizes – either one of Rebecca’s books, signed or free entry to a great writing competition.
My dear friend (who I met on Twitter) the wonderful, friendly and supportive Rebecca Emin has recommended me or my blog, I’m not sure which!. This writer who is going from strength to strength with the publication of her first novel for 8-12 year olds blogs at Ramblings of a Rusty Writer. This recommendation entails listing ten random facts about the self which I am sure you will find super riveting. And here’s a little twist. If you dare or would like to, why don’t you use these facts as prompts for a little flash fiction, say under 500 words and link back to it in the comments!
1: My first dog was named Skippy because I thought he was a Kangeroo ( I was two).
2: I would love to have been in a dance troupe or on Strictly Come Dancing but I don’t suppose I will ever be celebrity enough
3: I like footing turf (look that up)
4: I’m a quarter Welsh
5: I learned to swim in the sea when I was twelve. It was freezing.
6: I can play the tin whistle
7: I like abseiling but haven’t done it for years
8: I hate wet paper
9: I know someone who got Roy Orbison to autograph their arm
10: I’m good with knots.
I would like to recommend these vibrant blogs and individuals
REBECCA EMIN lives in Oxfordshire, England, with her husband and three small children. Her first novel for 8-12 year olds will be published later this year, and she is currently working on her second novel. Rebecca enjoys writing flash fiction and short stories and is an author for Ether Books.
Tell me about your family Rebecca
I have a daughter who is 8 and sons aged 6 and 3. I also have a 15 year old step daughter. She lives with her mum but I have known her since she was 2, so she feels like part of our family.
When did you start writing and what do you write?
I always wrote stories for fun, and dreadful teenage angst poems, but decided to try and write a novel in 2009, and that is when writing became something more serious for me. Since then I have developed an interest in writing flash fiction and short stories.
I am pretty sure that I will never go back to poetry!
What impact has having children had on your writing career?
As I had my children before trying to develop my writing career, writing hasn’t had a sudden impact on an established career for me. As my children are getting older, I am very slowly finding my writing easier to fit in with our routines. The thing I find really difficult is the school holidays as I try and tell myself to put the writing on hold but sometimes my characters are not that obliging so I feel I have to write. This is hard as I find interruptions quite difficult to deal with when I am engrossed in a story.
The positive that has come from having children is that they can read my work when I write children’s stories. It is wonderful to see them reading something and then smile and say they love it.
How do you organise your writing time and space, how do you work your day, do you have a routine or is it more ad hoc?
If I am organized, I take my laptop with me on the school run and go straight to my favourite writing spot which is a café right near my son’s pre-school. They do have WiFi there but I have deliberately not asked for access, as I find being unable to use the internet means that I write a lot more, and also being away from my house, I can more easily ignore the chores that are all around me. I write enough to make me feel satisfied for the day and then go home to do my other tasks more cheerfully.
However, it’s being organized enough to take the laptop with me. It’s been a while… so I am often at my kitchen table instead, and I never get as many words written there.
Is it possible to maintain a balance on a daily basis or do you find yourself readjusting focus depending on your projects?
I readjust constantly. I tend to fit my writing into the time that my children are all occupied elsewhere, as I can’t immerse myself in my writing with constant interruption. As a result it varies day to day as my 3 year old is not at pre-school fulltime.
How do the children react to your writing or the time you spend on it?
My 6 year old son is very excited about it, and always wants to read my children’s stories. My 8 year old gets a bit jealous, so I tend not to do much writing related activity when she is in the house.
What do you find most challenging in juggling your role as a mother and your writing?
GUILT. I feel guilty that I am not gloriously happy to “simply” be a mother and that I feel that I have to write to feel fulfilled. I feel guilty that the house is not cleaner and the laundry mountain has put down roots. But mostly I feel guilty when other people suggest that perhaps my time would be better of spent doing other things, ie that my family is “more important”. It is a difficult thing to balance.
You’ve made breakthroughs, such as your stories appearing in several anthologies, your popular short story publications through Ether books and finding a publisher for your children’s novel, why do you think these successes occured when they did?
All of my breakthroughs have happened very recently, which is very exciting and somewhat overwhelming at the same time. It’s wonderful to have stories published and my novel accepted for publication, but I can honestly say my proudest moments are when someone gets in touch with me to say they have read something of mine and enjoyed it. These are the highlights for me.
I can say without doubt that all of my writing successes have been helped along by social networking on Twitter and Facebook, as well as blogging. It is incredible how supportive and helpful people can be when they have similar interests, and I have made some great connections with people who have had a huge impact on me both as a writer and in general.
Do you think women face particular challenges in career/family life balance or is it something that both men and women face in equal measure?
I can only speak from my own experience, but in our house I find getting the balance difficult whereas my husband’s role is more defined. Because I am at home full time, it is naturally expected that I will do the majority of the tasks involved with running a family. The challenge for me is to fit the admin for our company and my writing into my child-free hours and still manage to keep the domestic side of things afloat. There never seem to be enough hours in the day!
Something has to give when wearing many hats, what is it for you?
Definitely the housework.
What suggestions do you have for mothers or indeed parents who want to write or further a writing career.
Try not to get too bogged down in worrying about the amount of time you don’t have, and instead use the time that is available wisely.
Also, accept every offer of help that you get!
Thanks for sharing your experiences here on Head above Water, Rebecca. Congratulations on your publication news so far and we wish you continued writing successes into the future!
More about Rebecca,
Here are anthologies in which her work has recently appeared, many of which are in aid of really worthwhile charities such as the UK National Autism Society and the Red Cross assistance for the people affected by floods in Pakistan.