Thursday, December 3, 2015

"The Year Of The Rat" – The 2015 Crystal Kite Interview with Clare Furniss

IN the UK/Ireland division, the 2015 Crystal Kite Award goes to "The Year Of The Rat" by SCBWI British Isles member Clare Furniss.

Before the regular interview, I have to share the amazing video they've put together featuring the Crystal Kite finalists and the winner...

Author Clare Furniss

Lee: Please tell us about your Crystal-Kite winning book!

Clare: My book is "The Year of The Rat," a YA novel about sixteen year old Pearl, who is grieving for the loss of her mum in childbirth. Pearl’s baby sister - who she nicknames The Rat - survives, and the book tells the story of Pearl’s year as she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her mum and accept her baby sister. The problem is, her mum doesn’t really seem to want to leave Pearl… 

Lee: How long have you been involved with SCBWI, and can you share what you feel you’ve gained by being a member?

Clare: I’ve been involved with SCBWI for six years now and I have gained so much from being a member. I first met my agent, Catherine Clarke of Felicity Bryan Associates, at a SCBWI Agents Party. I’ve benefitted from inspiring talks and workshops at conferences and also had the support and encouragement of many fellow writers, published and unpublished. It’s a wonderful community to be part of.  

Lee: Do you have any advice to share with other children’s book writers and illustrators?

Clare: Persevere! Success can take a long time coming - it took me five years to write "The Year of The Rat!" It pays to be patient and stay determined. It’s not easy, but having a community of writers and illustrators around you is a massive help when you’re going through the hard times - and that stays true after you’re published too.

Thanks, Clare!

I also connected with SCBWI British Isles RA Natascha Biebow to find out more about their region:

The SCBWI British Isles region is the largest region outside the US and is now highly-regarded by British industry professionals. We run over 30 annual events around the country, including masterclasses, workshops, a PULSE programme for published members, two retreats, events at festivals such as the Edinburgh International Book Festival, critique groups and an annual two-day conference with an illustrator showcase (which later tours the country) and mass book launch party. You can find out more about the conference here.

Our region's online magazine blog, Words & Pictures, features new content every day with interviews, tips and discussions about the latest developments in publishing.

This year we are once again running our Undiscovered Voices competition, in which selected unpublished authors and illustrators are given the opportunity to be talent-spotted by industry professionals. From the four previous anthologies, Undiscovered Voices featured authors and illustrators have received publishing contracts for more than 120 books. The authors have been nominated for and won an amazing array of literary prizes: including the Carnegie Medal, Waterstone's Children's Book Prize, Branford Boase Award, Blue Peter Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and over 30 regional awards. 

Learn more about Clare at this website here.

And find out more about SCBWI British Isles here.

Congratulations again to Clare for "The Year Of The Rat" winning the 2015 Crystal Kite Award!

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