Guest blogger Adelaide Godwin talks to Tracy Thomson about the launch next month of her new children’s book.
Is this the first novel you have ever written? Yes
What about when you were younger at school? I enjoyed writing but I am not sure the examiners felt the same when marking!
Was your first language French? No, this is why at the age of 9, I had to start from scratch, having lessons in French and abandoning my limited knowledge of English grammar!
Did you shine at English composition or find yourself naturally more steered towards images and painting?
I loved to draw but we did not have art classes at the school. I took my Art O Level for a joke and got an A grade. I never had any tuition until attending art classes, here, over the last 4 years. I never really shined at anything academically, I was more sporty, I like to think.
How did you conceive of the novel? We saved a feral cat (he had been missing from our Urbanisation for a month) returning with a bad leg injury. He is now a three legged cat living with us as part of the family.
Did you see images of a little cat and then let your imagination flow with a journey, friends and morals? Yes, my imagination took over and I set to painting his journey at my art classes.
You said you saw the book first in images and then came up with the joined up writing part, could you perhaps elaborate on that? Once I had completed the paintings, I then put pen to paper to write the story as I imagined it. My Publisher, Digital Leaf, said that was completely the wrong way round.
Initially you saw the reader as being older than the eventual age chosen. Yes, I thought perhaps with mentioning a cat being neutered it might be for a slightly older group. But then again I have a talking tree! So I can see how the publisher’s thought differently.
Did any differences between the Publisher and you cause problems? No, I was happy to go along with whatever the publisher’s thought. I was just so pleased they were as passionate about my story as I was.
Who or what served as inspiration for you on your writing journey? Our dear pussycat “Pooka” (Poohka in the book) We bonded with him when he was living outside and he would walk around the Urbanisation with us on a daily basis. So when he went missing we were most concerned for him.
How long did it take? From starting with the paintings then the writing just under 2 years. The actual writing took approximately 6 months, but I did not have a routine. I wrote when I had the time and that was not as frequently as I would have liked.
Why did you decide on a nom de plume? I always thought I should have used a different name when acting but never did, so this time I decided I would for writing. I have chosen my grandmother’s two middle names.
I understand more than one Publisher was interested, what helped you to decide which one to go with? No only the one. When sending off submissions I had 13 refusals but a number of them came back with complimentary responses, saying it was not for them, but someone out there will take it! It is finding that someone, sadly they never guide you. Anyway, I was most fortunate.
Have you started the next one yet? Yes, the first two chapters, it is just finding the time to shut myself away and get on with the rest. I need a routine.
The publishing process can seem arduous do you have any advice for others out there who are taking their own baby steps? Never give up. I understand JK Rowling found an agent on her 12th attempt. Geoffrey Archer on his 27th. The lady who wrote The Help on her 61st attempt. So there is hope for us all. Basically if I can do it, anyone can. I have absolutely no writing background at all.
What is the best approach for negotiating with the Publishers along the way vis a vis book jacket and illustrations. I was lucky I liked the front and back cover. The internal illustrations had to be changed because they were too English, so with a bit of coaxing and gentle persuasion they were altered.
How will you keep track of book sales? Will you access Amazon sales via the Amazon account set up or is that all being done by your Publisher? This is all being done by the publisher. They will be sending me quarterly accounts of sales and so on.
Below is a brief bio of the author (in her own words):
Adelaide was educated at an Ursuline convent in a remote Belgian village before attending Winkfield Place Finishing School, famous as Constance Spry’s school. There she achieved a Cordon Bleu Diploma and went on to work for Prue Leith in London and as chef at the Little London Restaurant in Chichester.
Adelaide then joined British Airways and took to the skies, working as Cabin Crew for fifteen years and travelling the world extensively.
Adelaide has also worked in the television and film industry doing small acting roles, as well as some photographic and voiceover work.
She now divides her time between the UK and southern Spain where she cares for animals, writes, paints and enjoys the Mediterranean sunshine.
So with a vivid imagination Adelaide picked up a pen and a piece of paper and started to write!
The result is:
Landing on my Feet; the Adventures of Poohka the Cat by Adelaide Godwin
This is the incredible tale of Poohka a feral cat from Sotogrande who through an error of judgement ends up on a landfill site many miles away from home. Seriously injured and left for dead, this story takes you on his epic journey of survival.
With courage and determination Poohka starts his amazing journey with the assistance of some very unexpected friends he makes along the way. With highs and lows, twists and turns, the story leads you to a heart-stopping conclusion.
A taster from my book:
Chapter 2 – No place for a siesta
In August, the hottest time of the year in southern Spain, Spike sat motionless in the heat of the sun. He was perched on a decaying branch of an old cork oak tree. The week had passed too slowly for Spike, a mature and splendid looking vulture. Spike longed for Wednesdays to come around, and waited impatiently.
There was a gentle but obvious roar of a lorry in the distance. Spike jumped up, stretched his scaly neck and flexed his claws. ‘It’s coming!’ he cried joyfully.
Señor Arbol, the once majestic cork oak tree, groaned loudly. ‘For goodness’ sake, Spike, if you carry on with this behaviour you will break my weary old branch. Then you will lose your prime spot here at the rubbish tip.’
‘OK, OK!’ he yelled with excitement, struggling to contain himself. ‘I’ll try my best, but my tummy is rumbling so much, and my food is on its way!’
As if in reply, the decaying branch beneath Spike made a big creaking noise. Spike gulped and immediately stopped bouncing up and down. Spike liked his vantage point closest to the dumping area, and he’d fought hard to get this prime position. He had no intention of losing it now!
“A roller-coaster ride of a book for young animal-lovers everywhere.”
Age: 8 + Digital Leaf “A claw-biting journey of bravery, persistence and unusual friendships set atmospherically in southern Spain” Heather Hacking Bestselling Author-Illustrator