Claire King


Archive for October, 2012

Monkey see, monkey do.

Posted on: October 29th, 2012 by Claire - 8 Comments

If you have children, or nieces, nephews etc, you’ll have seen their capacity and inclination for imitation. They don’t just copy the gestures and words others use, but the way we behave with other people, the activities we engage in and the tools we use. It’s one of the things that makes us human.

Since they were very young, my daughters have been used to me going away regularly for work. I was writing, but it happened on trains, or at night when they were asleep. But the Christmas when they were 5 and 3 I got a book deal. “Why are you so happy?” they asked. “Mummy is a writer,” I told them.

Within weeks, their games had changed. Previously, playing at being Mummy involved putting on shoes with heels, packing a case and sweeping out of the house, calling back, “I’m off to work. I’ll  be back on Friday, try and be good for Daddy.”

Now, aged 7 and 5, they get out pens and paper and they write stories, poems, anything and bring them to me like offerings. “I am a writer,” they say.

They way they engage with books is different too. They notice when a book is published by Bloomsbury. They are interested in the authors and illustrators of books, make connections, write fan letters even.

And recently, I’ve noticed something else. If I read on my Kindle, computer or phone, they go for computer games (or else choose a different activity altogether). But if I sit and read a paper book, within minutes they are rifling through their books for something to read themselves. In the parenting game of teaching by example we have hit a stumbling block:

My children don’t think reading on an electronic device is the same as reading a book.

Photo (c) Jer Kunz via Flickr Creative Commons


What if you couldn’t see the words?

Posted on: October 18th, 2012 by Claire - 4 Comments

I’m delighted and proud to say that The Night Rainbow large print rights have sold today to F.A. Thorpe, meaning that my book will be published in a format accessible to visually handicapped readers (1st September 2013).

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F.A. Thorpe are an historic publishers having pioneered large print in the 1960’s. Frederick Thorpe also founded the Ulverscroft foundation, which receives all the profits and uses them for research into visual impairment as well as supporting libraries.

Did you know that only seven per cent of books are accessible to  the almost 2 million blind and partially sighted people in the UK (in large print, braille, talking books etc)?  Can you imagine (if you are fully sighted like me), as a reader how frustrating that must be?

And imagine the challenge for blind and partially sighted children – how to overcome the difficulties and inspire a love of literature that will last a lifetime?

For the next three days (October 18-20 2012), The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) is holding Literary Wonderland on London’s South Bank, for children and families. Events and workshops will be run by children’s authors to raise awareness of reading services for blind and partially sighted people. Please have a look at the link and share it with anyone you think might be interested.

For more information, there’s a good article on Bookbrunch today.

Photo above thanks to Quinnums via Flickr Creative Commons.


There’s no time…

Posted on: October 3rd, 2012 by Claire - 10 Comments


The clocks go back this month. And tonight my taxi driver commented that the nights are drawing in. Indeed on a recent post on this blog, Pete mentioned that the sun is setting around 2 minutes earlier every single day. And as we lose daylight we say the days are shorter. As though having less sunlight means we have less time somehow. Maybe it’s to do with having less motivation? After all our bodies think this is true: when it’s dark they want to sleep, right?

Meanwhile, my absolute most popular search term leading to this blog is…

“How long until a literary agent responds?”

Which is closely followed by:

“How long after submission until I hear from publisher?

“How long after agent to get book deal?”


“How long to publication?”

Funnily enough, not one person has ever arrived here by searching “How long will it take me to write my book?”… (although The Guardian now has one answer to that question)…or “How long will it take me to become a good writer?”

If you want to see my post on how long the agent thing took, you can click the link. And yes, it took over two years from signing my contract to my book launch, which is still 4 months off. And do you know what? 21 months ago, my launch date seemed like an eternity away. Now it’s four months off and looking back on those 21 months – during which time I have been writing book two – I wonder why I still haven’t finished my new novel and packed it off to my agent. Why? Because from a writing perspective time has flown.

So what I want to say is this. The answer to all of those questions above is out of your control. Don’t let yourself get into ‘The Waiting Place’ as Dr Seuss called it. Because what you can control is the time you spend on writing (or whatever else it is you want to achieve).

How much time? Can you manage an hour a day? You’d be amazed how much progress you will make if you can. If not, what about half an hour? If not then why on earth are you here spending time reading my blog?

In conclusion, I thought I would share with you something that I first read almost 20 years ago, when I was younger and thought I had all the time in the world. I don’t know who to attribute it to, but I like it. Hope you do too.

The Value of Time. 

If you want to know the value of one year, ask a student who failed a course.

If you want to know the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

If you want to know the value of one day, ask the editor of a newspaper.

If you want to know the value of one hour, ask the lovers waiting to meet.

If you want to know the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed the train.

If you want to know the value of one second, ask the person who just avoided a serious car accident.

And if you want to know the value of one hundredth of a second, ask the athlete who won a silver medal in the Olympics


The gorgeous photo above is by Neal Fowler, via Flickr Creative Commons