Quark’s Academy will be my first published book!
The idea for Quark’s Academy first came to me when doing an astronomy course at the Sydney Observatory. It was taught by a charismatic, enthusiastic and clever professor called Paul Payne. Each week I attended class at the Observatory (which is such an amazing place) and more and more I thought about the fascinating world of science. It was during class that I had the first spark of an idea for Quark’s Academy. (The Sydney Observatory below)
(Image credit: The Sydney Observatory)
A little later, I cat-sat for friends while they were away. My house guest was a beautiful British Shorthair with lots of attitude named Sir Reginald. I just knew he had to be a character in the story.
And so I had the theme of science and a huge cat. I also knew I wanted go-getter characters who were bold, smart and had a sense of adventure.
I wrote the first draft of Quark’s Academy over about the space of a year. I then took it to my writing group to workshop and refine the story.
In July 2015, an opportunity came up to pitch story ideas to publishers and agents at the CYA Conference. For anyone who is an aspiring writer and doesn’t know about CYA, you should definitely check it out. It’s an incredibly well-organised event where you can meet and listen to industry experts, enter a great writing competition and be around other writers.
Keen to test out the waters and see what others thought about Quark’s Academy, I decided to book in for pitch sessions with various publishers and agents.
I would have five minutes to ‘sell’ my story. This was a challenge that terrified and excited me – so of course I had to do it. On the morning of the conference I rehearsed my pitch several more times, and soon it was my turn to deliver it…
In my next post, I’m going to share how I secured an agent and found a publisher for Quark’s Academy.
If you would like to read about how I started writing for children, check out my first post: Writing for Children: getting started and writing groups.