HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8I want to be a writer. How do I get started? Where do I begin?

I want to be a writer. How do I get started? Where do I begin?

By Hilary McKay, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 6, 2013

It is often said that letter writing, proper letters in envelopes on paper, doesn’t happen much any more. I am thankful to say that it still happens to me, and although readers contact me by twitter and email, and by messages to my website,  they also still write me letters. Lovely letters, often with illustrated margins and decorated envelopes, home made bookmarks and pictures of their pets.  I treasure them in a series of bulging folders.  They come in all forms, decorated and plain. Long and short. From very young people to very old…  (I have one that ends ‘Your biggest fan. Aged 82’) Some readers (I’m looking at you, Joseff!) have written to me so many times that they have folders of their own.

Letters began my writing life. “What can I do?” I asked of a friend, stuck as I was at the foot of a mountain, in a landscape of great dampness and beauty, with a temporary job at the village pub and so little money I gave up hot water.

“Write,” she said (she was an English student). “You can write letters. So. You could probably write a book.” So I did, and exile that I was, I called it The Exiles and I sent it to a publisher and a letter came back. And later, after a good many more letters, and a good deal of editing, it turned into my first book. Which changed my life.

So often I have the same questions from readers: “I want to be a writer. How do I get started? Where do I begin?” If they have written me a letter they have already begun. They are gathering their thoughts and turning them into questions. They are choosing words from the air and pinning them on paper.  They are communicating with someone who has never met them before. They are writing letters. Magical things. They could lead them anywhere. They led me here.

About the Lulu Series

A fun-filled new series for early readers and animal lovers alike.

LuluAndTheDuckInTheParkLulu and the Duck in the Park

Lulu loves animals. When Lulu finds a duck egg that has rolled out of its nest, she takes it to class to keep it safe. Lulu isn’t allowed to bring pets to school. But she’s not really breaking the rules because it’s just an egg. Surely nothing bad will happen. . .

Lulu and the Duck in the Park has been nominated for a Kiddo Award.

LuluAndTheDogFromtheSeaLulu and the Dog from the Sea

Lulu loves animals. When Lulu goes on vacation, she finds there’s a stray dog living on the beach. Everyone in the town thinks the dog is trouble. But Lulu is sure he just needs a friend. And that he’s been waiting for someone just like her.

Lulu and the Cat in the Bag will be available in Fall 2013.

LuluAndTheCatInTheBagLulu and the Cat in the Bag

When a mysterious bag is left on Lulu’s doorstep, the last thing her grandmother expects to be in it is a cat—a huge, neon orange cat. But Lulu knows this cat doesn’t mean any harm and in fact it needs a lovely new home.

Add these books to your collection: https://www.albertwhitman.com

Add the eBook versions to your collection: http://www.openroadmedia.com

Enter TCBR’s book giveaway for Lulu and the Duck in the Park.

About Hilary McKay


Hilary McKay

Hilary McKay was born in Boston, Lincolnshire and is the eldest of four girls. From a very early age she read voraciously and grew up in a household of readers. Hilary says of herself as a child “I anaesthetised myself against the big bad world with large doses of literature. The local library was as familiar to me as my own home.”

After reading Botany and Zoology at St. Andrew’s University Hilary then went on to work as a biochemist in an Analysis Department. Hilary enjoyed the work but at the same time had a burning desire to write. After the birth of her two children, Hilary wanted to devote more time to bringing up her children and writing so decided to leave her job.

One of the best things about being a writer, says Hilary, is receiving letters from children. She wishes that she had written to authors as a child, but it never occurred to her to contact them

Hilary now lives in a small village in Derbyshire with her family. When not writing Hilary loves walking, reading, and having friends to stay.

For more information, visit: http://www.hilarymckay.co.uk/

Follow Hilary McKay to her next blog tour stop on Sunday, April 07, 2013: http://www.sweetonbooks.com

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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