Spring is here!
I love seeing the daffodils and crocuses when I’m out and about. The lighter days have definitely brought a feeling of brightness. We’ve made it through the winter. Through the snow. Through a lot of tough months. It’s not over but there seems to be a movement towards optimism, rather than despair.
My fellowship at Peter Pan Moat Brae has been running alongside the pandemic and we didn’t know if, or when I would be able to make it down to Dumfries. Sadly, that has only been once. However, I consider being alive and healthy, a win. With the vaccine rollout comes renewed excitment for seeing people and travelling to places outside one’s health authority. I love going away by myself to see friends and attend bookish events. I hope sometime this year that might be possible once again.
I’m feeling okay. I’ve been very busy the past few weeks. I tend to take on too much, but to counteract that, I’m trying to make time for relaxing and we always have a Friday night movie night with my family with popcorn and snacks. And we always go for a walk during the weekends. And I've made sure we have a Sunday roast dinner too. I think its nice to have some routines and things to look forward to. We’ve had some boiler issues which have been on-going, but then our boiler decided to die. It was old. Sixteen years old. We now have a brand spanking new one but now we need to find a leak. There is always something that needs doing!
Megaphone 2021 has begun! I’ve got two new mentees who I will try to help with their novels. Ten The Gioi was chosen for the Bubble Tea Writer place which I reserved for a BESEA (British East and Southeast Asian) Writer. I chose Ten because I loved the sound of her middle grade novel which is about a boy who is a detective in Hanoi. I want to know more about the city and the culture, but also I love the sound of a Vietnamese detective. My second mentee, Nazima Pathan, has a fast-paced fantasy book with portals and hi-tech stuff. I was drawn to her imaginative ideas. I am looking forward to getting started and reading their work.
Since the pandemic began, hate crimes against those who look Chinese have risen massively. In the U.K reported hate crime has risen around 300% compared to the year before. An Chinese academic was beaten up in Southampton for no reason at all. In the States, the amount of hate crime has risen massively, and older Asians are being targeted. It’s been horrendous. This was made worse by the shootings in Atlanta, Georgia where 6 Asian women were murdered. I had offered a manuscript read as part of Kidslit Against APPI Hate which was organised by Asian Authors Alliance – they raised over $53,000. I knew things like this would happen, I braced myself for it. I hope that in time the communities that have been affected can heal and there is a way forward. And it's made having positive representations of East and Southeast Asians even more needed in books and on the screen.
I’m currently working on a new reading book for a publisher I have worked with before. I also have some of my second novel written. It’s very rough but I am glad to have some words on the screen.
At the beginning of March, was able to announce that a new chapter book series I’ve been working on this past year is being published by Hachette. Tiger Warrior: Attack of the Dragon King is full of magical realms, portals and lots of fun Chinese zodiac animals. It’s a really exciting and action-packed series for 5-7 years olds.
Even though I’ve had a lot of writing projects on the go, I am still learning. I signed up for a six-week Advanced Picture Book Course with Amy Sparkes. Amy is brilliant and I recommend her course to everyone. She thinks of everything and gives great advice.
I also got a place on a Screenskills ‘Writing for Children’s TV (animation) course lead by Myles McLeod of The Brothers McLeod. Their new show Circle Square is on Channel 5's Milkshake soon. We learned how to pitch, and more about getting into the industry. Then we had a networking evening with producers from animation companies.
I hope wherever you are, you are well. If you are reading this then you have survived this past year. Celebrate and take it one day at a time.