Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Brook Cottage Books is absolutely thrilled to welcome the lovely Helan Hart to the blog. Helen very kindly agreed to be
Tell us about SilverWood Books.
SilverWood Books is an author services company that produces high quality professionally-designed books and ebooks. We’re a small, specialist team providing self-funding authors with professional publishing services and on-going support. Our list is reasonably selective and includes a number of traditionally published authors including former BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Sarah LeFanu, Oxford University Press editor Alan Hamilton, former Defense Secretary Sir John Nott, and Whitbread and Guardian nominated children's author Ann Turnbull.
What type of books do you write?
Mostly Young Adult historical novels. For many years I wrote for the ‘ideas factory’ Working Partners, where I wrote several of the Vampire Plagues/Vampire Dusk series, and the Sisters of the Sword series (set in 10th century Japan). More recently I self-published a pirate novel for teens, The Black Banner, the tale of penniless Becky Baxter who runs away to sea and finds herself on a pirate ship – very Pirates of the Caribbean!
You were a judge in the Bristol Short Story Prize in 2010 & 2011. Was that a difficult job?
Good question! Yes, it was difficult but mostly because the standard of entries was so high. It was a challenge for the judging panel to decide which stories of the 40-strong longlist should be put forward to the shortlist and ultimately the top three… Mind you, with our Open Day Writing Competition coming up, I think it was good practice! (The Open Day Writing Competition is being run by SilverWood Books and Kobo Writing Life, with support from Berforts Information Press. The winning novel will be published as a paperback and ebook. Find out more: http://kobowritinglife.com/2014/09/20/open-day-writing-competition/)
(you can find out even more about the comp on tomorrows blog post)
Do you have any advice for budding authors?
Quite early in my career I was given an excellent piece of advice: “Don’t get it right, get it written.” Every time I find myself a bit stuck, I think of that and it prompts me to stop over-thinking and just put the words on the page. It doesn’t really matter if what you write for your first draft isn’t that good… at least you have something which you can work with and edit. After all, you can’t edit a blank page. So just get some words down and don’t worry about quality. That comes later!
Did you always want to be a writer?
Always. As a child, I loved making up stories and spent a lot of time scribbling new adventures for my favourite children’s book characters. It was such a thrill for me when the manuscript for The Black Banner caught the attention of a literary agent. Sadly she didn’t sell that particular book, but it led to all my other books which did get published – and paved the way for my role at SilverWood and all the work I do supporting our authors.
Lastly, list 3 of your favourite books.
Now this is where things get tricky. There are so many fabulous books out there that it’s almost impossible to choose three. But here goes:
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Memoirs of a Master Forger by William Heaney
The Keep by Jennifer Egan
Can I also mention my current read On Writing by Stephen King – while not an actual favourite book, it’s a must-read for writers!
Helen Hart is Publishing Director at author services company SilverWood Books. SilverWood supports self-funding writers to produce high quality professionally-designed books and ebooks. Helen is the author of 9 novels (HarperCollins, OUP, Scholastic), a Partner Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors, and an Indie reviewer for the Historical Novel Society.