Guest Post:Me, A Debut and Twitter: A view from the other side of publication

I have the privilege to feature the awesome Perdita Cargill on my blog today. She and her daughter wrote an awesome, funny YA novel, WAITING FOR CALLBACK, that reminds me of the humor in ANGUS, THONGS, & FULL FRONTAL SNOGGING. I  highly recommend you give this book a try. If you’re in the UK, you can purchase it here: Click here  Perdita’s post today is about social media, publication, and all the emotional swings that entails. She’s a fantastic writer, and what she has to say really resonated with me. I hope it does for you as well.

And without further ado, I’ll turn the microphone over to Perdita!

It’s been a couple of months since we published our debut teen novel Waiting for Callback and now I’m going to do the whole Wise Elder thing and tell you all about me and Twitter, publication and beyond.


I’ll gloss over the early days. Suffice it to say that I’d barely heard of Twitter before we signed a contract. Honor (my co-writer) maintained – as firmly as only a seventeen year old talking to her mother can maintain – that she didn’t ‘get’ Twitter and that a division of ‘labour’ would save me from making a fool of myself on Instagram and Facebook. I thought this was a good argument but I had yet to realize the potential for making a fool of myself on Twitter.  It took me a good six months to begin to master when to lurk and when to tweet. Ok, maybe not ‘master’, the shame of the unreciprocated intervention… But I did love talking about people’s books and I did start to make friends (oddly including a significant number of book-y people who had a deep and inappropriate appreciation of Poldark). Also there were puppy accounts (I never turned to the cat accounts, not even on dark days, because I had standards). There was @broodingYAhero.  I was getting the hang of it. But this blog (confessional piece) is about what happened round the time when our book was coming out.

Reader it was not my finest hour.

  • By publication day – a day that had become so magnified in my head that it should properly be given capitals (‘PD’)- I’d bored everyone on Twitter, including myself, with a tsunami of tweets and pieces about well, us – very occasionally about our book but yep, mostly us. Don’t misunderstand, we were very grateful for every invitation to talk, I just got a bit over enthusiastic about scheduling everything before PD. I’m not sure what I expected to happen on PD but because everything was going to be, in some unknowable way, ‘different’ I was determined to post everything in advance.

I’m pretty sure that most people had muted me before the first copy was on the shelves.

  • Not to worry, post-PD I set about livening up my feed with enthusiastic retweets of every single thing that anyone said about our book, someone posting that they were ten per cent in was enough to send me into a spin of RTs and comments – there was heavy emoji use. Well, every single nice thing – I didn’t mention the two star Good Reads rating because that hurt. Sadly this had the effect of making me look like an arrogant narcissist. Worse an arrogant narcissist that lived on Twitter and never left the house even to go and see if I could find our book in a bookshop (which if I had I would immediately have tweeted about because it was important to keep everyone absolutely bang up to date).

I consoled myself with the reflection that most people probably still had me on mute.

  • Fate intervened in the form of the second book deadline. So close was this to PD (rookie error) that I no longer had any time to tweet. Excellent? Not so much. First I vanished then I panicked. Was disappearing so soon after PD not the greatest author Twitter sin? Everyone would think I was A Shameless User and a Bad Person.

Well they would if they’d unmuted me.

  • The second book was duly delivered and my co-writer was released back to the relative normality of exam preparation at which point I remembered (in the way of someone remembering where they’d stashed the last bar of chocolate) that I used very much to enjoy reading And now there were new and wonderful books not written by me and they were having their own PDs.

I could talk about them.

Indeed I could tweet about them.

In retrospect I probably went a little mad. I like to think I won’t go quite as mad with book two (It’s probably a good thing that I don’t know the exact PD yet). If I do please do tell me. Stage an intervention if necessary. You can find me on twitter @perditact.

Thank you so much, Perdita, (and I am so so sorry this post came in a wee bit late. Life conspired against me finding time to blog)


Book Review: Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard

Confession: I don’t read much middle-grade. I was one of those kids who jumped straight from classics like Little Women and the Narnia books, into the realm of YA. However, as an adult, I have read a little more middle-grade, and some of them are real gems.

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier is the type of middle-grade novel that makes me wish for a time machine to give the book to my younger self. The characters are so dynamic, and the writing is so lush and vivid, that I read the whole book in one sitting.  I, admittedly, didn’t read the first book in this series before, but had no problem catching up. Sophie is brave and bold, and the quest to find the books “Where, What, and When” made me smile long after I closed the book. If you have any young readers in your life, buy this today!


for purchase at  AmazonIndiebound

Official blurb: It’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far in wide in search of adventure. Now Peter and Sir Tode have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: find a 12-year-old bookmender named Sophie Quire. 

Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she repairs old books and dreams of escaping the confines of her dull life. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up with a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read.

Little Joys

It’s funny how when I’m busiest, I’m the most aware of all the good that surrounds me. Perhaps it’s because it’s clearer when there are small moments of happy calm, rather than trying to pick the sweetest day of a leisurely week with nothing to do.

Anyway, just a small post. We creative types are so busy making new worlds and getting lost in our work, that sometimes the ordinary world seems rather… ordinary. So, I challenge you, reader, to take this week to notice some wonderful bits of joy in your own life.

Me? I’m happy for loving family (including a new nephew, who I can’t want to hold!) and loyal, enthusiastic friends. I couldn’t be where I am today without their support, and their encouragement has gotten me through many bad days.

I’m grateful for coffee, and for carbs, as well as the park near where I live, because a walk in the fresh air under the trees can be almost as enlivening as a hot cup of coffee. Almost.

I’m grateful for knitting, and running, for always being a challenge and a relaxation for me. I’m also thankful to all the books I’ve read for allowing me to escape between their pages. And I owe so many thanks to that book I read when I was at my lowest as a writer, which reminded me of the magic of the written word.

I’m grateful for the talented  network of authors and creatives who have guided, nurtured, and challenged me. Even if we only crossed paths to swap a chapter or exchange a tweet, I’ve learned so much from you. Thank you.

I’m grateful to my silly cat, for keeping me amused, ever since he walked into the backyard hunting for catnip, but desperately in need of food and TLC. His health and happiness now reminds me that one person (or one tiny, mangy stray kitten) you can be the world.

What joys are you grateful for?