Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Anna Chilvers' Blog

Selected last week, one of the new titles for Exclusively Independent is Falling Through Clouds (Bluemoose Books).

There have been a number of moments in my life when I have decided to be a writer.

The first was probably when I was about seven years old and decided to be famous for being the youngest person ever to have a novel published. I started on chapter one – many, many times. I wrote Chapter Ones of books influenced by Beatrix Potter (little pigs go off on an adventure with their belongings tied up in a handkerchief on a stick), C.S.Lewis (children find themselves transported to a wonderful magical world full of green mosses, bluebells and magical pools) and the Pullein-Thompsons (girl makes friends with a horse) and many more.

Time went on, and school pushed me to make career choices, and writer didn’t seem to be one of options on offer. So I went for Educational Psychologist instead and chose all the right ‘O’ levels and ‘A’ levels and got into UCL to do a BSc in Psychology. All went well until one day somewhere in the third term, when I thought, hang on, stuff this, I wanted to be a writer. So I left university and got a job in a bookshop. I also walked about on Hampstead Heath a lot, visited Highgate Cemetery and wrote a lot of poems. I started a novel, but my particularly crap boyfriend didn’t like me giving extended attention to something other than him and burned it.

A few jobs, an English degree, a husband (who is completely lovely still after 20 years) and two children later, I thought, hang on, I wanted to be a writer. The girls were small and I was at home and I thought, now or never. So I joined a class and went on a course and started writing. Pamela Johnson, a wonderful writing teacher from Goldsmith College, asked me how long I thought it would take me to write a novel and I said about two years. She said, write it in one. So I went home and wrote a novel in eight months.

I wrote Falling Through Clouds whist completing an MA at Sheffield Hallam University. The reasons I am still writing are these - one – it’s what I’ve always really wanted to do - each of those moments was an epiphany. And secondly, the encouragement, support and downright nagging of people who believe in me.


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