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Was she always a writer in disguise? Or did the creativity spill out of her at just the right moment? Read Kate’s intriguing article on how she found herself as a writer in the midst of microbiology.
As a child, it never occurred to me to become an author. To start with, I don’t think I realised that being an author was a real job that real people could have. Authors seemed like some sort of special breed, a long way from anything I could achieve. Secondly, I was too busy planning a career in microbiology.
Fast forward twenty years or so, and I was working as a part time engineer (killing microbes, as it turns out, not studying them). My days off were spent reading picture books on repeat to my insatiable toddler and I was desperate for something to do that would be just for me. I’d read somewhere that happiness was linked to creativity, and if creative was the thing, then creative I would be. I was half way through manufacturing a throw rug from ripped up bed-sheets when I discovered writing. I found a picture book writing competition and set to work. My manuscript didn’t win. It wasn’t even short-listed. But it didn’t matter. I was hooked.
Writers are funny creatures. There are some who will swear to you that they loathe the process of writing, that while they are doing it they would rather be doing anything else, but they love the fact of having written a book enough to go back and do it again. Part of me gets it. I have certainly had times when I wanted to throw my computer against the wall in frustration. And I’ve definitely spent more hours alternately writing and deleting a single sentence and scrolling aimlessly through cute cat videos than I have in any sort of Josephine March scribble-a-thon in the garret. But – and it’s a big but – I also have moments when I somehow find exactly the words to put my heart on the page and it’s like a shot of electricity down my spine. And that makes everything else worth it.
The thrill of holding my debut picture book in my hands is real. The excitement of seeing my story turned into something tangible is something I won’t forget. But it’s the act of creating it that was the greatest joy of all.
If I could go back in time and talk to my eleven-year-old self, I wouldn’t discourage her from pursuing microbiology. I still love science, and I think it’s more important today than at any time in history. I wouldn’t discourage her, but I would whisper in her ear. I would tell her, even if she didn’t believe me, that she has a creative spark as well as a scientific mind. And I might, just might, slip a notebook and a pen into her backpack, just in case.
Article by Kate Simpson.
Kate Simpson: website | facebook | twitter
Finding Granny: Booktopia | Boomerang Books | EK Books
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