Today I’d like to welcome fellow Astraea Press author Karen King!
Thank you, Christi Corbett for hosting me today, and for making me think about my path to publication story. I’ve talked about various bits over the years but never actually sat and wrote down how it all happened before. So here it is!
My Path to Publication story
I had my first poem published when I was 11. I wrote it about my baby brother and it was published on the children’s page of the local newspaper. It was another twenty years before I got anything else published. During that time I got married, had four children, wrote children’s stories whenever I got the chance and stored them in a file under my bed. I took a writing course and started writing short stories and articles for women’s magazines, none of which ever got published. And I kept writing children’s stories and articles for teenagers but never sending them out.
Finally, I decided to try my luck with my children’s stories and after a while I got an article published in a teenage magazine called Jackie. I was so excited! Fuelled by my success I wrote more articles and photo stories for Jackie and a couple of other teenage magazines, and also stories for young children’s comics. Marvel Comics liked one of my stories and asked me to write comic strips for them. Soon I was writing for several children’s comics, doing short stories, comic strips, puzzles and all sorts of features. At the same time I was writing my first children’s book, A Ghost Called Esmerelda.
Writing activities for the magazines, and making things with my own children, gave me ideas for activity books and I wrote several for Scholastic. Many of the comics I wrote for were licensed characters such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Rosie and Jim and Winnie the Pooh so I was approached by publishers to write books about various licensed characters, including Teddy Ruxpin and Henry’s Cat. I kept writing and eventually got some picture books and story books published too. I never did get A Ghost Called Esmerelda published but I have now had over a hundred children’s books published. And it all started with that little poem!
My two latest books are my YA, Perfect Summer, published by Astraea Press and Get Writing: Children’s Fiction, published by How to Books.
Karen King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children’s magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction. As well as her children’s books, Karen has written some short stories for a woman’s magazine and has had two romance novels published under the name of Kay Harborne.
She is studying for a degree with the Open University, has a Certificate in Education and is an experienced writing tutor. She taught at the University College Falmouth on the MA Professional Writing and BA Illustration courses and also ran Saturday workshops and a Summer School on Writing for Children there.
Growing up in a society so obsessed with perfection that the government gives people grants for plastic surgery, 15-year-old Morgan can’t help being a bit envious of her best friend Summer. Summer is beautiful and rich, her father is a top plastic surgeon and her mother is a beauty consultant with a celebrity client list. Her life seems so effortlessly perfect. Whereas Morgan isn’t so rich or beautiful and her little brother, Josh, has Down’s syndrome – which, according to the Ministry and society in general, is a crime. Then Josh is kidnapped and the authorities aren’t interested so Morgan and Summer decide to investigate. They, along with another teenager, Jamie, whose sister, Holly, has also been kidnapped, uncover a sinister plot involving the kidnapping of disabled children and find themselves in terrible danger. Can they find Josh and Holly before it’s too late?
The aim of this book is to get you writing. It’s full of inspiration, tips and writing exercises for anyone who wants to write children’s fiction. Included are tips from other published writers, useful links and answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask.
Includes chapters on:
Know-how: the difference between writing for children and writing for adults.
How to get ideas for your stories from your family, your work and your life – and how to expand those ideas.
Creating believable characters children will love reading about.
Writing by the seat of your pants, or plotting? Basic things you need to know for either approach.
Writing realistic dialogue.
Writing the first draft
How to create ‘reel them in’ beginnings, sustain the pace in the middle, and write satisfying endings.
How to write page-turning chapter endings; keeping continuity when writing series.
Writing for the educational market.
Writing a synopsis and a proposal.
Submitting your work to a publisher or agent.
Dealing with rejects and rewrites.
Publicity and marketing.
Publishing your own work.