My name is Julia, and I have been publishing books for children and young people since the dark ages (ie, 2001). I’ve written gritty realist novels, humorous books, and books set in the even darker ages (ie 1966 and 1979).
In February 2023 my first picture book, City of Light, will be published, qualifying me as a proper children’s book writer. Most people unfamiliar with children’s lit ask children’s writers, ‘When are you going to write a book for adults?’ Children’s lit writers, though, know the real question is, ‘When are you going to write a picture book?’ A picture book means you’re the real deal. What a picture book lacks in pay, it makes up in prestige.
I’ve worked with four publishers (Penguin Random House, Lothian, Fremantle Press, Wild Dog Books), experienced publishing mergers, been broken up with by a publisher, and had many dark teatimes of the soul connected to writing.
The joy of creating characters that speak to actual humans. The joy of including lifelong passions in my books (the importance of friendship, pets, music (did I mention I’m an adult student of the cello?), getting up after being knocked down, and ABBA. The joy of connecting with my writer and illustrator colleagues, who really and truly are the best bunch of humans you could want to meet.
I’ve worked since I was fourteen, in jobs ranging from Burger King whopper maker to speechwriter to Usher of the Black Rod in Parliament. (I only took the job for the title, as I’m sure you’ll appreciate). I dropped out of school at fifteen and spent some time as a teenage psychiatric patient in two hospitals before turning to creativity to save myself. I have since completed a Ph.D. in Writing and a Bachelor of Laws with Distinction.
How To Avoid A Happy Life: the memoir
Now, I’m finishing a memoir. To give you a taste, its chapter headings are:
· Get Yourself Born into Intergenerational Misery
· Experience Vicarious Trauma through Your Friend Being Raped and Murdered by a Japanese Serial Killer
· Marry Your Ex-Girlfriend’s Brother
· Surprise! Find Yourself Living With A Street Angel, Home Devil
· Find Out Why Your Husband is Urinating in the Kitchen on an Evening
· Find Yourself and Your New Partner Being Chased Down the Street by a Phalanx of Reporters
So now, you understand the title. It’s ironic, yes, but also, sometimes disturbingly accurate. I hope that those reading it will take comfort from tales from the trenches — either because you’ve been in your own, or you hope to avoid falling into one.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
#about me #memoir #writing #publishing #mentalhealth