This is long overdue, for all sorts of reasons. I’ve been putting it off because it seems so much more difficult to me than writing a story. There are so many people who helped in various ways when I was writing A Good Hiding. SO MANY. I am scared of leaving someone out. And I’m also not sure where I should stop. I could go back really, really far when I consider all the people who helped me become a writer. I could also name everyone who is a good friend or relative. I am exceptionally fortunate to have such people in my life, and I do feel it very regularly. As Maria in the Sound of Music sang ‘Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.’ I’ll spare you the entire musical but please believe that I mean the whole thing, right from the dancing on the mountain to the escape-from-the-Nazis.
It won’t be a perfect list, and if you read it and feel a bit miffed that you’re not on it then chances are that it’s simply that I’m an idiot and I should have added you. Forgive me in advance please…
My heartfelt thanks to…
Ian, Ana and Eoin: my family. Eoin is only two but he gets a thank you as well because being pregnant when I was editing Nollaig’s pregnancy was really helpful. I’m not sure I would recommend method writing for a pregnant character, though. It’s quite a commitment.
Mum, Dad, Mags: my family. You bought me books and let me read Virginia Andrews at an inappropriate age, and, Mags, you will never let me forget about ‘Johnny in the Cafe’ but I know you’re secretly proud that I wrote that innovative song.
Dorothy, David and Alan: my family. Thanks for your kindness and help!
Ruth, Cat, Jen, Helen, Emma, Chelsea, Denise, Jade: my writing group pals. You have been such an enormous help and encouragement and I love and miss you all. ‘Look for the bra!’
Peterson Toscano. If you were wearing a cheerleading outfit you couldn’t be more cheerleady, and this has been so helpful, but you also know how to give helpful criticism when necessary. And you let me rip off the vicar prayer device from your play. When I am rich I will get you the BEST cheerleading outfit.
Glen Retief. I do wish we lived closer. Your encouragement has meant so much and one day I hope I can write with as much wisdom and skill as you.
Damian Gorman. Thank you for the help in de-sermonising and visualising the action and for teaching me about the balance of dark and light in writing. And also for the encouragement and the opportunity to read from A Good Hiding in the early stages at the Mac. And also for a writing exercise at Corrymeela absolutely ages ago where my vicar was born. I could go on…
Shimna Integrated College staff and students. Particularly Kevin, Ellen and the GSA. Thank you so much for your amazing support and kindness.
My tutors at Manchester Metropolitan University. Thank you for helping me to begin and continue and complete. Sherry Ashworth- I really needed your encouragement at the start- it was so important. Nicky Matthews Browne- the thing you taught me about balancing dialogue and action and description was probably the main thing that shifted my writing forward during the MA. It’s in my mind all the time now.
The Arts Council NI. Thanks so much for your support during the editing of A Good Hiding and the writing of the next novel.
SCWBI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), particularly Benjamin Scott and Sara Grant. Undiscovered Voices changed my life, and you have been amazing. Thank you.
Agent Jenny Savill from Andrew Nurnberg Associates. It has been such a privilege to work with you. Thank you for guiding me through this tilting-train journey!
Editor Sarah Castleton and everyone else at Atom books. It has been amazing working with you and I’m so pleased at how A Good Hiding has turned out. Thank you believing in angels.
Nick Cave. I know you’re not reading my blog, Nick, but it would be wrong not to thank you as if you weren’t also a person who helped.
‘Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could…’