Category Archives: Real Life

An interview with … Anita Loughrey

In the July 2019 issue of Writing Magazine, I was interviewed by Simon Whaley about my school holiday survival tips on how to push on with writing projects when the children are home all day. As mentioned in a tweet it is really very rare for me to be interviewed. I am usually the person doing the interviews. So I get very excited when I see myself in a magazine. The feature even gets a mention on the front cover:

Writing Magazine - Schools Out

Schools Out! How to juggle your freelance business with kids holidays.

When I reread my words compared to what John Adams, founder of Dad Blog UK, I realised how much things have changed over the years as my children have got older. When my children between the ages of 5-11, I too used to rely on holiday clubs which my children loved. There was so much for them to do to keep them active and interested. Once they started secondary school they would rather do their own thing and hang out with their own friends.

One thing is for certain though I have never, ever, ever got up to write voluntarily at 5am in the morning. I am definitely not a morning person. Although, I have been known to be still at my keyboard at 3am in the morning, having not gone to bed yet.

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In the feature, I advocate timetabling as a way to find time to write. This is beneficial not only to the children who get advanced warning of when you are working and when they need to amuse themselves, but it is also a way of motivating yourself to actually sit yourself in the chair and get on with the work. Timetabling works both ways and sets the expectations of the children that I am actually going to produce something at the end of the day. If you say you are going to work there has to be words on the page as evidence of this.

I have also been guilty of turning family excursions into writing projects and like Simon mentioned himself in the feature taken family for days out on assignments and when researching areas. This in a way makes it even more fun and helps me to hone in what I actually want to find out so I use my time productively.

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I think another thing though to ensure you get a well deserved break from your writing is to actually give yourself permission to stop writing and have a holiday. to do this I recommend telling your editor, project manager, publisher, agent and who ever else is involved waiting on you to send in copy what your holiday dates are. Let them know you will be away from your desk and will not be working at the set holiday dates. Everybody needs a holiday – even writers!

Happy New Year

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It is the end of the year all ready and time to take stock and think about what I want to achieve next year.

This year I have written sixteen books. That may even be a record for me.

 

Every year I give up alcohol from the 5th January to the 13th February and every year I have got really ill. My theory is I need the alcohol to kill off the germs. Liquor truffles just don’t do the trick. I have told my doctor my theory and she said if I knew I was going to get ill, I should start taking precautions beforehand. I never thought to ask her what precautions?

So, what are my targets or New Year resolutions for 2019? Well this January I want to give up alcohol without getting ill.

My goal for this year is to build-up my author platform by blogging regularly and hopefully creating a following. If you would like to help me toward this goal please follow my blog and follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow my dogs Instagram account here.

I hope 2019 brings everything you wish for.

HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR!

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish all the readers of my blog a very merry Christmas. I started writing this blog hoping to share my thoughts with people world wide. I have a long way to go. But thank you to everyone who is supporting me on this endeavour.

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If there is anything you would like me to write about, any books you would love to see me review or any of my interviews you would like me to share, please let me know.

Here is some sparkling wine and mince pies for you.

 

Book of the Year 2018

George Kirk @GeorgeKirkTales set me the very difficult task to choosing my favourite book of 2018 for a video for the Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School’s learning Resource Centre @BRGS_LRC

The book I choose was The Girl in the Broken Mirror by Savita Kalhan and published by Troika Books. It is about a 15-year-old British-Asian girl called Jay. After her dad dies Jay and her mum have to move in with relatives. They are very traditional and Jay losses a lot of her freedom. But Jay’s life gets worse when she is sexually assaulted.

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I like this book because of the author’s writing. Savita Kalhan makes you really feel for the main character, Jay. I cared so much I couldn’t put the book down. I had to stay with Jay until the very bitter end.

You can see George Kirk’s resource and watch me talking about The Girl in the Broken Mirror in this video. You have to be patient though as my bit is at the very end.

The other people who take part in the video resource and where to find them are:

Emma Perry @_EmmaPerry who recommends Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon @DarbonMel

Karen Bultiauw @karenbultiauw who recommends Magic Mirror by Claire Fayers @ClaireFayers and The Truth About Lies by Tracey Darnton @TraceyDarnton

Bea @Busy_BeaP who recommends To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo @alliechristo

K M Lockwood @lockwoodwriter who recommends Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay @candygourlay

SCBWI Outstanding Contribution Award 2018

At the SCBWI Winchester Conference 2018 I received an Outstanding Contribution Award for the work I have done within SCBWI as a Volunteer. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the conference this year but the award arrived in the post this week. Thank you 🙂

OCA 2018

Here is the citation:

Anita Loughrey has served as our Membership Coordinator for too many years to count! She remembers times when we didn’t have the networks or even online sign-ups… when keeping on top of membership admin was not for the faint-hearted. Anita is often the first welcoming contact for new members, sending out the welcome pack and answering their queries about SCBWI. She works closely with the Networks and events organizers to provide updated monthly membership lists and follows up on renewals. As many will know, she also served for many years as the Networks Coordinator for London and the South East, forging many personal contacts with members, too. Anita is a shining example of a volunteer who is willing to tackle admin with all-important reliability and always with a smile.

OCA 2018 citation

I have been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) since October 2002, sixteen years ago. I first started volunteering in an official capacity in April 2006, when I became Network Organiser for London. This involved planning monthly socials for members at different venues around London with a special guest each time. I also introduced the monthly London SCBWI brunches which were run by Miriam Craig and the monthly London SCBWI Write-ins. I don’t and have never lived in London but I did the job for ten years before handing the job over to the very capable hands of Tania Tay,  who has built on what I started and made the London network a strong and cohesive group.

In October 2011, I also took over the SCBWI British Isles membership coordinator role from my wonderful friend Sue Hyams. Over the seven years I have been doing this role I have streamlined the whole membership system for the British Isles and introduced our own British Isles membership pack jam-packed full of useful information on how to get the most out of your membership. I also campaigned to add a dropbox to the online joining form so people could select their network area. Before this was introduced the Network Organisers had to sort out which members were theirs themselves.

One of the highlights for me as a volunteer was going to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2012 to represent the SCBWI British Isles and showcase our members published books. It was fun.

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In 2016, I became the South East Network organiser. During the two years I did this job I visited critique groups in Oxford and Southampton and I ran a weekly write-in in Newbury every Wednesday morning. I passed on the mantle at the beginning of this year to Fiona Barker.

Over the twelve years I have been volunteering for SCBWI I have achieved and done quite a lot. I am looking forward to continuing this work. I would also like to say a big congratualtions to all the other SCBWI volunteers who received a SCBWI British Isles Outstanding Contribution Award this year. Well done 🙂

Launch of my new blog

Today I am launching my new blog all about Writing for Children. It is going to be jammed pack full of information about the many books I have written, interviews I have done, book reviews I have written and my writing advice. My aim is to share with the world my immense writing experience and background.

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I write two slots for the national writing magazine, Writers Forum and will be announcing on my blog when the new features are out and who I have interviewed. I will give teasers from the magazine in the hope you will want to find out more. I have already posted a Research Secrets blog post, which you can take a look at here. I will also be including snippets from interviews I have done for the stationery blog Papers Pens Poets.

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Book reviews are one of my many writing specialisms. I have been writing book reviews for many years for a variety of websites and magazines including the Historical Association, Nikki Gamble’s Write Away and Armadillo Children’s Book Review Magazine. I plan to post a review each week which will include a mixture of some of my favourite books and new releases . I already have a book review on the blog so you can see what to expect. Take a look here.  I thought it was quite an appropriate book review as I have migrated from Blogger to WordPress.

Leave me a comment…

It is an exciting time and I hope you will comment and share my posts. I have been writing in a vacuum for years, blogging without anyone knowing. Now is the time to get out there and be noticed. So if you just want to say ‘Hi’, or let me know your opinion, please do. I would love to hear from you.