Ash Mistry and The Savage Fortress

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Sarwat Chaddas Blog

My new job! Writer in residence

Tuesday was an important day for two reasons. The first was it was an anniversary. It was October 9th 2004 I wrote down this in my diary:

Radical change of plan! WRITE A CHILDREN'S BOOK.

That was it but that's how it all started. Then by lat 2007 I had an agent, by early 2008 I had a book deal and by mid 2009 my first book in the shelves.

And now is eight years later. The best eight years of my life, without exception.

And the second reason Tuesday was so great was I began my year as 'writer in residence' at Chepstow Secondary School. And a most excellent day was had. Well, by me, certainly. The teachers seemed happy by the end of the day and none of the children had been reduced to tears, which are my criteria for success, so success it was. Mad morning roleplaying demons and ghost and all things between with Years 7, 8 and 9's and then wrapping it up with what shall forever be known as 'licking the flamingo'.

What you've got above is me giving my first real life lesson. It's weird how these things begin. We went through a few key principles of writing punchy stories and the 25 kids, ranging from Year 7 through to 9, were given there first assignment. Then, over the year we'll be having monthly Skype meets and wrap up with me heading back at the end for a wrap up. There's a lot of ground to cover but, as I told them, this was where my passion for stories began. At school. Back at primary the teacher read the class the hobbit and my life's never been the same since. At secondary I studied MacBeth and frankly, if you look hard enough, you'll see the themes of loyalty v power and fate v free will and ironic victory/defeat replayed out in my books. 

It's early days, but it all starts somewhere. A decision made eight years ago brought me to a life and lifestyle I've craved. Yesterday a friend did comment how lucky I was. Damn straight. I KNOW I've been lucky. I've friends who are better writers but not published and we all know writers who are huge but shouldn't be published. Luck does play a part but the words on the page are the biggest component of that 'luck'. The more you write the luckier you'll be.

I'll be getting the kids to sign a finder's fee contract before the end of the year. 20% of their first advance seems reasonable, don't you think?

Oh, and on other news, started writing Ash #3. 


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