Originally posted on AUTHOR ALLSORTS:

This weekend, I threw a party for 30 five-year-olds. Call me naive (and many parents did) but this was the plan:

Scan 5The reality was less Oranges and Lemons, and more like riot control.

At least I had plenty of time to think about this blog, as I re-rolled 105 metres of toilet tissue (first rule of riot control: never suggest playing ‘wrap the mummy’).

I was equally naive when imagining life as a full-time writer.

In my head, writing was The Perfect Job to fit around children: serene days at my desk; short breaks for coffee and chores; an early finish for the school run.

In reality, life feels just as frantic as it did when I commuted to an office. Writing eats time, and the more you give it, the greedier it gets. I sit down, become absorbed, and suddenly the day is over. Sometimes, it was over…

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Originally posted on AUTHOR ALLSORTS:

I’m pretty good at throwing away clutter, in the interests of feng shui and less to do at the annual dusting.

The attic, though, is under different jurisdiction, and piled high with rubbish mementos. Luckily, moving house six times in six years has given me plenty of excuses to sift through and find things like the first book I ever wrote. Or at least, the first one I bothered to staple-bind.

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A dog visits a zoo. But the cover only hints at the peril that will unfold…

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The plucky parrot saves the day, they all get an ice cream and catch the bus home. It’s no Just Jake. But I thought the back cover was quite revealing:

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ISBN, series promo and priced in three territories… I’m not surprised this seven-year-old ended up in publishing.

Headshot Isabel Thomas writes non-fiction and fiction for children and teenagers, published by DK, Pearson, Collins, Raintree…

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My City Safari series has just published, and to celebrate I’ve written a guest blog for Project Wild Thing. It’s full of ideas for engaging children in urban wildlife spotting, and you can read it here.

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The books are published by Raintree and they introduce 4-to-6-year olds to the hidden lives of urban animals… with clues to help you discover who’s living near you.

If you’re lucky it’ll be this dude:

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I had big plans when I started this blog. But plans don’t always work out.

Exhibit A: you spend ages planning a Christmas like this:

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And, inevitably, you get this:

Xmas 2013

The plan to post about my new books on publication went just as smoothly. So, 11 days into 2014, a belated hello to my books that published in 2013!

Hardbacks: The Dealing with Feeling series (Raintree) was great fun to create, drawing on the experiences of children I know. The scenarios are brought to life by Clare Elsom’s expressive illustrations.

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E-books: Lonely Planet’s Not-For-Parents Activity Pack is 48pp of KS2 activities for teachers to use alongside Lonely Planet’s awesome Not-for-Parents titles, plus a great double-sided classroom poster.

Lonely Planet Poster

Paperbacks: The first four titles in the Bloomsbury Transport Collection published in 2013, and my author copies quickly found new homes with my sons’ friends. They feature brilliant retro-style artwork, which is predicted to be one of the big trends in children’s publishing this year. My First Book of Cars, My First Book of Trains, My First Book of Trucks and Tractors and My First Book of Aircraft (A&C Black) will be joined by four new Transport titles in 2014.

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Raintree published seven of my 2012 titles in paperback in 2013: five books in the eye-popping Extreme Animals series and two Astronaut Travel Guides, featuring interviews with real astronauts. Last but not least, my Wayland Radar: Top Jobs titles – Stuntman, Celebrity Photographer and Fashion Stylist – published in paperback.

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Watch out for news of my 2014 titles around this time next year…

Our local paper carried a little article about me last week. Quite a few people got in touch to say congrats, all very exciting.

A few days later I met the headteacher of my son’s new academy, and we got chatting about the fact I write children’s books.

“I’ve been looking for a local children’s author to open our new school library,” she said.

Oooh!

“I was trying to get Jonathan Stroud.”

Oh.

“But he’s going to be in America.”

Oooh!

“It’s so important to show the children that they shouldn’t limit their horizons. It’s great for them to meet local people who have been really successful.”

I flex my red ribbon-cutting muscles.

“So let me know if you can think of anybody.”

And with those words, my 15 minutes of fame were officially O to the V to the E to the R.

Does anyone have a number for Jonathan Stroud?

Baby look at me. And tell me what you see. If you squint, I could be the face of First Capital Connect's failure...

Baby look at me. And tell me what you see. If you squint, I could be the face of a failing First Capital Connect…

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